WD Link: Successor to WD Discovery

February 4th, 2013

WD Link Setup is the successor to WD Discovery, for detecting WD NAS drives and mapping them to drive-letters.


Graph Editor – yEd: Import of Graphs in [dot] Notation

January 30th, 2013

In the past, I have created data-flow graphs in dot notation.  Some of my colleagues still do.  The otherwise-fabulous yEd graph-tool is unable to open dot files.

However it turns out that someone has written a dot-to-XML convertor, to an XML format acceptable to yEd.

Read the rest of this entry »

Using CeltX to Author an eBook for Amazon Kindle

January 29th, 2013

Tried Scrivener.  It seemed ok at first but then got clunky.  My IT-illiterate girlfriend soon got into trouble using it.  So is there a better approach/tool?

I wondered about CeltX.  A web-search confirmed that it could be “persuaded” to act as basis for eBook authoring.  But how good is that approach in practice?  Only one way to find out – try it out!

Provided I remember, I will post my experience of it back as an append-edit to this very blog-Post…

Read the rest of this entry »

Graph Editor – yEd

January 29th, 2013

I wanted a graph editor where I could define the connectivity on-the-fly, including inserting new nodes partway along existing connections.  Something “fluid” to use.

I found it: yEd, available at http://www.yworks.com/en/products_yed_about.html.  Superbly slick, functional, multi-platform and free (gratuit), even for commercial use.

Main reason for wanting such a thing was to be able to document the media depenencies in a multimedia (e.g. video) project.  For example I might begin with an Adobe Premiere project based on raw footage.  I would document that in a connectivity-graph having a RawFootage node (object) with an arrowed line coming out of it and going into a Project node.  Later on, I might decide to enhance (e.g. CPU-intensively de-noise) the footage and then use that enhanced footage in the project instead (media-replace).  Such an intervention would not have been planned, it would have been an after-thought.  To bring my documentation up-to-date,  in my connectivity-graph, I would want to interpose an Enhance node in the existing footage-to-project connection.  Being able to do that in one single step would be great (no need for individual steps such as delete connection, add node, connect source to node, connect node to project).  Having made many such changes and additions over time, the diagram might become untidy and in need of rearrangement.  So ideally the application should offer Auto-Arrangement, to produce or at least provide a starting-point towards a tidier arrangement.

The same approach could apply to many things, including general brainstorming/mind-mapping, drama/story-design (prior to screenplays/scripts) and plain down-to-earth production of explanatory graphic diagrams as media themselves for incorporation in multimedia projects.

All this is way beyond the diagramming tool I have most used in the past few years, namely Visio – at least the (old) versions I have encountered.  I have dabbled with GraphViz, which auto-generates/arranges diagrams from formal connectivity (etc.) definitions in geeky formal notation.  GraphViz gets the job done but from my personal experience it is somewhat clunky and slow to use (involving frequent re-experiments and reading of lookup-notes).  I want something slicker, more “GUI”, more intuitive…

Haha!  Such a thing does exist!  I found it!  Not only does it allow the kind of graph-editing flexibility I am looking for, it can also import data from Excel etc. and auto-generate graphs from that.  So if I want I can document my connectivity/dependency information first in Excel or Notepad (say) with a view to generating a diagram from it at a subsequent stage.  And it is multi-platform (based on Java) and it is free (gratuit).

It is called yEd and is available at http://www.yworks.com/en/products_yed_about.html

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apt-get on Windows: win-get & Cygwin

January 29th, 2013

I want to run some python scripts, whose instructions state the need to run apt-get first.  The apt-get command is from unix-land, whereas I use mainly Windows.  How can this apparent obstacle be overcome?

I guess first I should try the “easy way”, i.e. get the script running on a unix machine e.g. a Mac}

Google:[apt-get windows 7]:

  • http://windows-get.sourceforge.net/ {No use to me}
    • {Naively, I thought it sounded like a Windows version of apt-get, but it is actually only inspired by apt-get, and is only for getting Windows applications such as FireFox.}
      • http://win-get.sourceforge.net/
        • Win-get is a automatic software installer and package manager for Windows, inspired by Debian’s apt-get tool. With win-get, downloading and installing an application to your computer is as simple as: win-get install firefox
    • win-get is an automated install system and software repository for Microsoft Windows written in pascal (for the command line client) and php for the online repository. The ideas for its creation come from apt-get and other related tools for the *nix platforms.
    • The system works by connecting to a link repository. Finding an application and downloading it from the stored link using wget.exe . Then performing the installation routine (silent or standard). And finnally deleting the install file.
  • http://wiki.debian.org/AptZip {Possible solution? e.g. run on a Mac then use the download on Windows?}
    • {Could this be an alternative?  Download on a separate computer and transfer to destination by memory stick etc.}
    • APT-ZIP is a package to update a non-networked computer using apt and a (removable) media (harddisk, USB key, ZIP drive…)
    • The apt-zip-list and apt-zip-inst commands simplify the upgrade process of a non-networked Debian host using apt , by using (preferably high-capacity) removable media, like a ZIP or USB drive.
    • You can use wget in Cygwin in the computer where you haven’t got installed Debian, to execute Apt-zip. Also you can run the script from a LiveCD.
  • http://www.cygwin.com/ {Better solution?  Needed in any case?}
    •  Cygwin is:
      • A collection of tools which provide a Linux look and feel environment for Windows.
      • A DLL (cygwin1.dll) which acts as a Linux API layer providing substantial Linux API functionality.
    • Cygwin is not:
      • A way to run native Linux apps on Windows. You must rebuild your application from source if you want it to run on Windows.
    • Latest Version & Windows Compatibility:
      • The Cygwin DLL currently works with all recent, commercially released x86 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows, with the exception of Windows CE and Windows NT4.
      • The most recent version of the Cygwin DLL is 1.7.17-1.
    • http://lifehacker.com/5433452/cygwin-17-adds-windows-7-support-and-many-improvements
      • Version 1.7 added Windows 7 compatibility.

Scripting: Python or Ruby? (& iOS Apps for Text/Script Editing)

January 23rd, 2013

I recently came across a handy script for recording streams.  It was in the scripting language python.  So I went to obtain it.  So far no problem.

But that got me thinking: I’d read somewhere a long time ago of python, or was it ruby (on rails or otherwise), being used to support broadcast or film digital production workflows. So first I wanted to confirm that, through web-search.  Then second I wanted to compare the languages, to see which one I felt best about.

Google:[python ruby workflow video production adobe avid]

  • http://devopsanywhere.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/how-ruby-is-beating-python-in-battle.html
    • This is a really good article, I can see that for me, python is the obvious choice – more readable to me.  Furthermore:
      • Ruby’s greatest strength is its amazing flexibility. There is a lot of “magic” in ruby and sometimes it is dark magic. Python intentionally has minimal magic. It’s greatest strengths are the best practices it enforces across its community. These practices make Python very readable across different projects; they ensure high quality documentation; they make the standard library kick ass.
      • (For a particulat given simple example, <<The python example is far more readable and maintainable. >>
    • On the other hand (in favour of ruby):
      • If ruby reminds of perl, your eyes do not deceive you. In many ways it is the love child of perl and smalltalk.
        • In the past have had a very good experience of using smalltalk
      • every large program should have its own internal DSL suited to the problem space … it seems much easier to create DSL’s (Domain Specific Languages). Ruby certainly spawns DSLs with much greater frequency than python. No single pythonic build tool dominates the problem space like rake does in the ruby community. Most python projects seems to use setup.py for administrative tasks even though that is not its explicit purpose.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Python_software
    • Lists Implementations, Development Environments, Applications etc.
  • http://blog.eltrovemo.com/364/diy-broadcast-how-to-build-your-own-tv-channel-with-open-source-other-goodies/
    • DIY BROADCAST: How to build your own TV Channel with Open Source & other goodies
    • Loads of great links eg for screenwriting (Celtx), multicam recording (Ingex Studio), editing (EditShare LightWorks), archive (BackBlaze) and playout (OpenPlayout, MLT).  Also 3D modelling (Blender), color correction (DaVinci Resolve Lite), Live Graphics (CasparCG), Digital Asset Management (EnterMedia).  And more … but you get the drift…
  • http://doingthatwrong.com/home/2012/10/18/running-scripts-with-textexpander
    • Example scripting and, serendipitously, some recommended iOS (iPhone/iPad) apps for note-taking and html script production, namely Nebulous Notes and TextExpander (which can work together).

Gimp: APNG Plugin (To make animated PNG files)

January 19th, 2013

Wasn’t looking for it, but found it at:

G’MIC: Image Processing Pipeline(s) Scripting Language

January 19th, 2013

GMIC: An Image Processing Pipeline(s) Scripting Language
I found this by accident, but it looks really handy for “industrial-scale” image processing.

  • http://gmic.sourceforge.net/
    • G’MIC stands for GREYC’s Magic Image Converter. This project aims to:
      • Define a lightweight but powerful script language (G’MIC) dedicated to the design of image processing operators and pipelines.
      • Provide an interpreter of this language, distributed as a C++ open-source library embeddable in third-party applications.
      • Propose four different user interfaces for this image processing framework:
        • The command-line executable gmic to use the G’MIC framework from a shell
          • In this setting, G’MIC may be seen as a serious (and friendly) competitor of the ImageMagick or GraphicsMagick software suites
        • The interactive and extensible plug-in gmic_gimp to bring G’MIC capabilities to the image retouching software GIMP.
        • ZArt: a real-time interface for webcam images manipulation.
        • G’MIC Online, a web service allowing users to apply image processing algorithms directly from a web browser.
    • G’MIC is focused on the design of possibly complex pipelines for converting, manipulating, filtering and visualizing generic 1d/2d/3d multi-spectral image datasets. This includes of course color images, but also more complex data as image sequences or 3d(+t) volumetric float-valued datasets.
    • G’MIC is an open framework: the default language can be extended with custom G’MIC-written commands, defining thus new available image filters or effects. By the way, G’MIC already contains a substantial set of pre-defined image processing algorithms and pipelines (more than 1000).
    • G’MIC has been designed with portability in mind and runs on different platforms (Windows, Unix, MacOSX). It is distributed under the CeCILL license (GPL-compatible). Since 2008, it is developed in the Image Team of the GREYC laboratory, in Caen/France, by permanent researchers working in the field of image processing on a daily basis.
    • Main features:
      • G’MIC defines a complete image processing framework (provides interfaces for C++, shell, gimp and web), and can manage generic image data as other image-related tools. More precisely:
      • It can process a wide variety of image types, including multi-spectral (arbitray number of channels) and 3d volumetric images, as well as image sequences, or 3d vector objects. Images with different pixel types are supported, allowing to process flawlessly images with 8bits or 16bits integers per channel, as well as float-valued dataset.
      • It internally works with lists of images. Image manipulations and interactions can be done either grouped or focused on specific items.
      • It provides small but efficient visualization modules dedicated to the exploration/viewing of 2d/3d multi-spectral images, 3d vector objects (elevation map, isocurves, isosurfaces,…), or 1d graph plots.
      • It is highly extensible through the importation of custom command files which add new commands that become understood by the language interpreter
      • It proposes commands to handle custom interactive windows where events can be managed easily by the user.
      • It is based on the latest development versions of the CImg Library, a well established C++ template image processing toolkit, developed by the same team of developers.

Gimp: Wavelet-Based (& Other) Plugins for Gimp v2.8

January 19th, 2013

There exist Wavelet-based filters/plugins for Gimp.

Simplest to use are the Wavelet Sharpen and Wavelet Denoise filters.  Nevertheless, the following text-tutorial for Wavelet Decompose filter, provides a useful grounding in the pragmatocs of what wavelets are (in our image-editing-in-Gimp context).

I stumbled upon the following Forum thread, including a download (Zip file) of a number of filters compatible with Gimp v2.8, including Wavelet-based ones.  Here’s the link:

Once installed, the Wavelet filters are available in Gimp’s Menu:

  • Wavelet Sharpen in [Filters > Enhance]
  • Wavelet Denoise in [Filters > Enhance]
  • Wavelet Decompose (into Gimp Layers) in [Filters > Generic]

Gimp Plugin: MathMap

January 19th, 2013

The MathMap plugin for Gimp provides:

  • A sophisticated scripting GUI+Language, specialised for graphics in Gimp+MathMap.
    • e.g. One can peek individual pixels, run Mandelbrot algorithms, in very concise code.
  • An assortment of processing functions written in that language
  • A Graphical Nodal filter-application editor

Example Scripts and Visual Results:

Video (Screencast) Presentations:

  • Demo of the MathMap Composer
    • Inaccessible (as of 2013-01-19) since it is a Private video (on YouTube).
    • Alternative demo.
    • And another demo.
  • Introduction to the MathMap Language
    •  Inaccessible (as of 2013-01-19) since it is a Private video (on YouTube).
  • MathMap Cocoa Introduction
    • Inaccessible (as of 2013-01-19) since it is a Private video (on YouTube).
  • New features in MathMap 1.3.4
    • This one is accessible.

Explanatory Websites (BUT see further below for special required installation procedure instructions for Gimp v2.8):

Download & Installation instructions

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Update Gimp (2.6 to 2.8)

January 19th, 2013

I updated my existing Gimp 2.6 to the latest version, 2.8.

Information on plug-ins (plugins) and the “Plug-ins Registry” (a central but non quality-or-safeness guaranteed repository):

Smalltalk (Object-Oriented Programming Language)

January 15th, 2013

I used to use this language back in 1990.  It matches my way of programming fairly well.  Now I have some concepts I want to try out, so what’s available now?  What’s best and free or low-cost?  Is a development environment for it available in the form of an iPad app?  Or can it be used produce iPad apps?

Google [best version of smalltalk]:

Now about iOS (iPhhone/iPad) devices:

Being as I am mostly Windows-based, I’ll give Dolphin Smalltalk a go…

Image/Frame Stacking

January 10th, 2013

Image-Stacking: motion-compensated superimposing (eg by averageing) of objects in a set or sequence of images

I’ve traditionally used RegiStax, currently at version 6.  It works, but I wonder if there are any alternatives, since:

  • It is a little clunky and crashy.
  • It only seems (unless I’ve missed something) to do plain averaging, not more robust (to noise and blurring) such as median or motion-estimated deconvolution etc.
  • It works on the basis of tracking-points, not textures (as does Mocha). Textures are more robust.

I’ll give AstroStack a try.

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MBR Color Corrector: Update to Version 2

December 26th, 2012

MBR Color Corrector, by Matt Roberts, is a plugin Effect for Adobe Premiere and After Effects, to automatically color correct movie clips / footage featuring a Gretag MacBeth / X-Rite ColorChecker chart or card in-shot, e.g. at the beginning or end of a scene or take.

This provides an alternative to manual (hence subjective and probably iterative) color adjustments in conventional Effects in the editing application (Premiere or After Effects).

When applied appropriately, the workflow-result can be improved productivity and quality, with reduced (as opposed to avoided) dependency/demand on Colorist expertise and accurate color monitors etc.  It not only handles typical color temperature issues but also, to a useful degree, non-linear luminance and color “twisting” inherent in certain cameras and lighting conditions.

In addition to color correction, MBR Color Corrector can also be used for color matching, e.g. to match a mood, as previously established in an example prepared by a Colorist, provided that example likewise contains some frames featuring a Gretag Macbeth / X-Rite color chart or card.

The new version (v.2) features:

  • Mac support.
  • An improved, more intuitive, user interface.
  • Keyframes on everything that effects the output.

The free (gratuit) functionality is almost complete (no watermarks etc.) and in my experience has certainly been useful on real projects.  The paid version has greater efficiency and functionality, and encourages the developer to keep developing.  See the product web-page for more details.

See images in corresponding entry in my main blog.

Mocha & AE for Tracking & Stabilising

December 19th, 2012

In fact there is an excellent-looking series of tutorials at http://www.mamoworld.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=42&Itemid=84&lang=en

How to Avoid “Cheap Movie” Dialog Audio Quality

December 14th, 2012

Web-research produced the following:

  • http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/archive/index.php/t-260937.html?s=f59ef633f56960080b1be215f5bd6bd5
    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?260937-Bad-audio-in-films for (fully-formatted version):

    • The general rule, especially for beginners, is shotguns outside and hypercardioids inside. Lavs are okay when absolutely needed, though they often have a much drier, less natural sound to them because of where they’re placed. That missing ambience has to be added back in post. Wireless should be a last resort.
      • Unfortunately, a shotgun mic cannot be zoomed, and is not good at rejecting low-frequency sounds, including echos reflected from walls and floors.
      • Use of interference-tube shotguns are often the cause of that hollow, boxy sound you hear in low-budget indie films. Some shotguns, like the Sanken CS-3, use a different principle to achieve directionality, so are not susceptible to the same sorts of problems.
      • To get clean dialogue, the first and most important rule is to get the mic as close to the subject as possible. That means riding the frame-line with the mic and risking the occasional (hopefully rare ) dip into the frame. A lav mic on the subject can go a long way toward “solving” the problem of a reverberant room.
    • One of the biggest problems here is with small productions that have no sound person, and resign themselves to putting the mic wherever they can. On-camera is the absolute last place ever to place a mic for production sound. Get the mic off the camera and into the action. The effective working distance for a mic for on-camera dialog is 6″-20″, and 20″ is pushing it. The closer to the source, the more direct sound in proportion to ambient reflections will be recorded.
    • Audio that is recorded too low is going to have noise problems later. Not only will the levels have to be raised in post, increasing the level of any noise in the signal, low audio levels also create problems when audio plug-ins and filters are added. Since low (digital) audio levels don’t use but half, or less, of the available bits, processing through lots of things like compression and EQ can make the audio start to sound blocky (the sound equivalent of pixellated).
    • Room tone. Cutting dialog together requires some continuity of sound, and when taking a clip from take 1 and a piece from take 2 and cutting them together the room tone will be needed both to smooth out the edit (so that the room tone doesn’t disappear between lines) and often to keep continuity of sound between takes. If the traffic goes away, bugs start/stop chirping outside, or the room tone otherwise changes between takes, room tone is how you recover. Be sure to record :30 of room tone for each scene, and record it again if something changes. After the last take, ask everyone to stay still and quiet, and record in the same space with the same mics and with all the same equipment running.
    • Ambient sound beds add realism to the background. SFX and Foley replace all the sounds of people walking, moving, handling objects, etc. (none of that is actually recorded in production, where dialog is the only focus). Layers and layers of audio come together to paint the big picture.
  • http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Electronics_Fundamentals/Electromagnetic_Devices/Microphone
    • The most common unidirectional microphone is a cardioid microphone, so named because the sensitivity pattern is heart-shaped.
    • A hyper-cardioid microphone is similar but with a tighter area of front sensitivity and a smaller lobe of rear sensitivity.
    • A super-cardioid microphone is similar to a hyper-cardioid, except there is more front pickup and less rear pickup.
    • These three patterns are commonly used as vocal or speech microphones, since they are good at rejecting sounds from other directions.
  • http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?234912-Question-Shotgun-vs-Hypercardioid
    • {This has a mine of information on microphone types, designs and properties in-situ indoors etc.}
    • A shotgun uses an interference tube that relys of phase interactions between that portion of the sound wave hitting it from the front, entering the tube through the front and traveling down inside the tube and the portion of the same wave passing alongside the tube and entering it through the side ports.
      • For sound coming from dead-ahead, the two wave sets in the tube reinforce each other but for sound hitting it from the side the waves are out of phase and cancel.
      • However, when considering sound reflected from the environment, its phase is already shifted with respect to the direct component of the same sound and so the pattern of orderly cancellation in the interference tube breaks down and some frequencies are reinforced while others cancel. The result is called ‘comb filtering’ and results in distortion of the recorded sound, typically sounding like the source is down in a well or standing in a metal culvert.
    • In comparison, hypercardiods do not use phase interference to achieve their directivity, operating instead on pressure differentials. As a result, they are not subject to the same degree of selective frequency distortion of the reflected sound that an interference tube mic exihbits.
    • Sanken CS3-e is a shotgun with 3 capsule array giving it better and more even frequency balance for the sides. Many have found that it is a shotgun which can be well used also indoors, it is also fairly compact in length.
  • http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/30/865231
    • {Discussion thread about recommended makes/models of hypercardiod mics}
  • http://www.pinknoise-systems.co.uk/Used_Mint_Sanken_CS3e_microphone_with_Rycote_Modular_WS4_Kit_–product–1486.html
    • Used ‘Mint’ Sanken CS3e microphone with Rycote Modular WS4 Kit
    • Price: £1,260.00
  • http://www.visuals.co.uk/salesProductDetail.php?PRODUCTID=1021270
    • Sale price: £846.52+ Vat

Fix for Premiere CS6’s Too-Huge Tool Icons

November 22nd, 2012


(discovered at http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/ssimmons/story/adobe_has_lots_of_blogs_but_kevins_is_the_best_one/ )

Adobe CS6 on Mac OS: Encoding to Windows Media

November 20th, 2012

It’s not directly possible to render from Adobe CS6 to Windows Media (doh!).

The best we can do on Mac OS is to render to an intermediate file, such as ProRes or DNxHD or Cineform.  These formats are not bundled with Adobe, they are third-party, to be obtained and installed independently of Adobe.

Having rendered to an intermediate file, it is then possible to render from this on to Windows Media via the following:

  • Copy the file to Windows and use Adobe (say) from there.
  • Staying on Mac OS, use a different application:

Adobe CS6: Encoding Presets Migration and Exploration

November 20th, 2012

Having created my own additional presets for encoding formats on one system, I want to copy them to another.   As it happens, these “systems” are the Boot Camp Windows and the Mac OS sides of the same MacBook.

So how do I copy them?

As it happens, Adobe Media Encoder has menu options:

  • Preset > Export
  • Preset > Import

Nevertheless, looking behind the scenes…

Each Preset is stored as an [.epr] file.  So where are the [.epr] files kept?


  • Google:[adobe premiere presets location]
  • Explore my own system:
    • Mac OS: (just a few examples)
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Premiere Pro CS6/MediaIO/presets
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Media Encoder CS6/MediaIO/systempresets/
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe After Effects CS5.5/Support Files/(MediaIO)/systempresets/
    • Windows:
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe After Effects CS6/Support Files/(MediaIO)/systempresets/
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Premiere Pro CS6/MediaIO/systempresets/
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5/MediaIO/systempresets/
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Premiere Pro CS5/Settings/EncoderPresets/
      • /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Media Encoder CS6/MediaIO/systempresets/3F3F3F3F_44505820

Adobe Media Encoder: Additional Formats

November 20th, 2012

I was using Adobe Premiere, this time on Mac OS, and wished to render something like ProRes or something suitable for an iPad.  Aware of Larry Jordan’s post on this (from my earlier post), I nevertheless searched afresh, finding the following Adobe blog post.  Very helpful.

In each case (folder of presets), just drill down to the lowest level, select all the [.epr] files and import.  Each [.epr] file “knows” its appropriate folder internal to Adobe Media Encoder.  And yes, I did first check the presets were not already there.  Weird really, that I had to discover these by accident – surely should have been part of an Update?


  •  new ProRes, Kindle Fire, Nook, iPad, Android, and MXF presets for Adobe Media Encoder CS6
  • IMPORTANT: We do not distribute the ProRes encoders or decoders (codecs). You must get those from Apple. The ProRes encoders are included with various Apple video software, such as Final Cut Pro and Motion.

    To install the encoding presets in Adobe Media Encoder CS6, do the following:

    1. Download the encoding preset packages:
    2. Extract (unzip) the package.
    3. Start Adobe Media Encoder CS6.
    4. In Adobe Media Encoder CS6, choose Preset > Import and navigate to the encoding preset(s) to import. You can choose multiple encoding presets at a time; it is most convenient to select all of the presets in a folder at once.

    This video demonstrates the use of the Preset Browser to apply and manage encoding presets.

    If you have any trouble, bring questions and issues to the Adobe Media Encoder forum, and we can help you there.

Adobe Files Recovered in Trash – Unwanted

November 17th, 2012

Whenever I boot up Mac OS, there are recovered Adobe files in the Trash.  Even if I did not use Adobe in the previous session!  Of course I can [Empty Trash] but why do they keep cropping up there in the first place?  Is this symptomatic of some error or malware in my Mac OS system?  Last time it happened, these were the files concerned:

  • The file [com.adobe.dynamiclinkmanagerCS6]
  • A [.prmdc] file, with prefix as per one of my project names.
    • Maybe [pr] indicates association with Premiere?
  • A bunch of files named as [I-Frame Only MPEG~xxxx.epr], where [xxxx] represents a pseudorandom hex value (of more than 4 characters).
    • I guess these are preview-accelerating renders.  But I thought such renders were retained, not temporary.
    • From http://help.adobe.com/en_US/mediaencoder/cs/using/adobemediaencoder_cs5_help.pdf it seems that [.epr] generally means “exported preset”.  So maybe that’s what it means here also. In which case these are I guess temporary exported presets when sending to (encoder) Queue from Premiere?

The best advice I could find on the web was that this kind of thing, while not generally expected, is of no importance, so “just keep emptying the trash”.  Concerning and irritating though…

Presumably Adobe is not cleaning-up when I close it, but in that case why and what else is it not doing?  Could this be associated with the Kaspersky issue I recorded in my previous blog-post?  Like had the Kaspersky-augmented kernel shutdown been methodically waiting for some Adobe clean-up process that never terminated, whereas un-augmented kernel shutdown simply (and silently) forced-killed that process?   Just guessing with my overactive imagination, no supporting knowledge/information/evidence.

The fact (I have observed) that recovered Adobe files can appear in Trash even when Adobe has not been used in the current or the previous Mac session (between machine boot-ups) tends to suggest that some independent Adobe clean-up process is always happening in the background, as a result of normal system start-up, regardless of whether Adobe has explicitly been run by the user.  Gives me some “gut feeling” that my “imagination” might be on-track…

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Mac Shutdown Hang: Kaspersky 2011 (for Mac)

November 14th, 2012

My MacBook Pro, running Snow Leopard i.e. Mac OS 10.6.8, often hangs during shutdown.  If I start it up, do almost nothing, then shut down it is ok. But otherwise, if I do something significant, like run Adobe Premiere, it hangs on shutdown.  The only way out is to “Button It” i.e. press and hold the Power Button to force a power-off.  This leaves the file system slightly damaged, as reported by [Boot Camp > Windows] (not sure if I have MacDrive running or not), if I happen to run that immediately afterwards.

On booting again to Mac OS, the OS appears to mend the file system and recover lost files, which appear in a [Recovered] folder of [Trash].  Typically these are files I (directly or indirectly via an application) most recently created prior to shutdown, for example Adobe project-saves and cache file saves.

This is a nuisance, and (naively at least) raises concerns of some more significant kind of damage occurring some day…

Web-search suggested maybe Kapersky Anti-Virus 2011 (for Mac) might be responsible.  My experience indeed confirmed that – once I removed Kaspersky (for Mac), the Mac OS shutdown behaved normally once again.

{BUT, as recorded in my next post, re Adobe, could the apparent Kaspersky-hang be the result of an Adobe failure-to-terminate process?}

Kaspersky removal:

  • Since my copy of Kaspersky (for Mac) was installed as part of Parallels Desktop 8, it did not come with its own installer/uninstaller package.  Instead I had to run Parallels Desktop (no need for any of the VMs to be running, just the “shell”), then use menu option: [Parallels Desktop >  File > Uninstall Antivirus for Mac…].
  • Tip: on doing that, nothing seemed to happen for quite a while, so maybe worth leaving it for say 15 minutes to see if a confirmation “Removal succeeded” message pops up.  Or if that doesn’t work, try updating Parallels Desktop and trying again (that is what I ended up having to do).

Read the rest of this entry »

Adobe Templates for Diwali

November 13th, 2012

I’m producing a video of a corporate event celebrating Diwali – the Indian Festival of Lights.

I wondered whether anyone had made an Adobe Premiere or After Effects template for Diwali.

I tried searching on [Diwali] in Adobe Exchange, but nothing was found.


Adobe Missing Title and Encore Templates: Download

November 13th, 2012

 I had Adobe Production Premium CS6 installed, but when in Adobe Premiere I tried to make a Title, there were no Title Templates present.

A Google search on [adobe premiere cs6 title templates download] produced the answer, as follows, in the form of a downloadable installer.  In addition to Premiere Title templates, the add-on also includes Encore templates.

Some people had problems downloading and installing, discussed here:

Adobe Media Encoder: Additional Formats

November 12th, 2012
  • http://www.larryjordan.biz/prelude-v1-0-1/
    • With this release, Prelude now provides new transcoding options that are optimized for editing.
    • While the ideal option for Mac users is to transcode into ProRes, this isn’t a viable option for Windows users. Since Prelude is cross-platform, Adobe provides two other options: MXF OP1a and P2 Movie. Of the two, I prefer P2 Movie > AVC Intra 100. This Panasonic codec is 10-bit, uses I-frame compression, and creates file sizes somewhat smaller than ProRes 422. For most editors, it should provide excellent quality.
    • For Mac users wanting the best quality, I recommend creating a custom preset in Adobe Media Encoder using ProRes. For editors needing to support files in a cross-platform environment, I recommend AVC-Intra 100. (The 100 version has a higher bit rate, and generally higher quality than the 50 version.)
    • http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=5409

Adobe Premiere – Source Media Adulteration

November 10th, 2012

Sometimes Adobe Premiere may write to a source media file or proprietary folder-structure.  This may be considered a non-problem in most situations, but it is nevertheless worth being aware of.

This is nothing hidden, surreptitious or unheard-of, it’s explained in Adobe’s Help text and documentation.  However the potential consequences may not be obvious to a new user.  It may arise at various points of what we may regard as the greater process (workflow/manual) of ingesting media, consisting not only of Premiere’s Import of media but also subsequent manual updating of metadata or indeed automatic analysis such as speech recognition.  As of CS6 it can also occur as a result of adding Markers in Adobe Prelude.

Premiere likes to add and manage metadata for each media file.

  • The good side of this is that it value-enhances these files, making them easier to locate, navigate and use, potentially increasing workflow productivity and asset usage.
  • But there’s also a dark side – not necessarily Adobe’s fault (e.g. their approaches may well adhere to official media specifications) – but it may be that so-adulterated media files may cause difficulties to other applications (e.g. that may not fully take on board such standards).
    • In my experience, in the past, some (possibly poorly-written, but nevertheless useful) applications have refused to work with metadata-augmented files, again holding up productivity, in this case while the user figures out the issue and works out how to strip this data out, in order to progress.
    • Technically a non-problem, but potentially consequential to a workflow, backup software will (rightly, from its point of view) see the metadata-change as a file-change (e.g. as a consequent file-size change) and consider that the files have been updated.   Left to itself, the backup process (depending how it works/configured) will overwrite any previous copy of the files (e.g. the original files).   Even if the backup process prompts the user to confirm this, the naive user may be uncertain what to do,

Also, the user has the option at their discretion for Premiere to automatically store additional files (such as cache files and metadata sidecar files) alongside source media files.

  • In the case of media represented as a straightforward single file (like a .jpg or .mpg file) this does not affect that media.
  • However some media (e.g. TV-playable DVDs or XDCAM-EX video media) are stored as proprietary folder structures with defined contents, part of these contents being essence files (e.g. .vob files or .mp4 files) while other files alongside them etc. in that structure (e.g. DVD’s .IFO files or XDVCAM-EX’s .SMI files) contain metadata or index into them etc.  In this case, the consequence of adding further files into the structure will (in my experience) be acceptable to some applications and media players but not to others, which regard it as “pollution”, and may then reject such structures.  Certainly in the past I have seen this happen in some software applications and also even some (mostly old) TV DVD players.

This is a case for “situational awareness”: if one is aware of the nature and potential consequences of the adulteration (be it regarded as pollution or enhancement, depending on the workflow situation), one is then in a better position to be able to avoid or fix any asociated issues. Read the rest of this entry »

Sony EX3 Noise & Bits-Resolution

November 5th, 2012

It looks to me like it is worth recording from a Sony EX3 in 10-bit when there will be subsequent Neat Video -type temporal denoising in post.

I tried a quick-and-dirty experiment, confirming that, despite the relatively high noise of the Sony EX3 (as compared to mainstream broadcast video cameras), high bitrate 10-bit 4:2:2 recording offers a greater potential than 8-bit 4:2:0  when the Neat Video type of temporal denoising (motion-compensated, I think) is applied in post.

I have yet to dig-down into this, e.g. to see how it would be affected by dropping down to “8-bit but still high-bandwidth” recording, hence I can only conclude that the combination of high bandwidth, 10-bit and 4:2:2 is beneficial.

The experiment:

  • Make an extremely low-light recording on the EX3, in 1080 50i mode.
  • Import it to a SD resolution project in Adobe Premiere.
    • No “scale to project size”, hence pixel-for-pixel, with the HD clip therefore appearing to be “zoomed”.
  • Compare the original to a copy that had the following affects applied:
    • Fast Color Corrector
      • Input-range (0, 1.6, 114), to brighten the (deliberately) under-exposed image.
      • Increase Saturation to 200.
    • Remove Noise (Neat Video)
      • Temporal noise reduction only, radius 4 (frames).

Make the comparison via Preview:

  • Set resolution to 100%, image size to Full.
  • Render the result, i.e. so timeline had green lines not red.
  • Compare by eye.
    • The unprocessed 8-bit (XDCAM-EX) and 10-bit (Cineform-High) recordings appeared identical i.e. very noisy.
    • The denoised 8-bit looked slightly better but the denoised 10-bit looked very significantly better, indeed just about usable.

Great Camera Comparison Summary

November 4th, 2012


From March 2012

Sony EX3 Noise & Bits-Resolution & Green-Screen

November 4th, 2012

It has been said ( I believe by Alister Chapman ) that there are only marginal benefits from recording XDCAM-EX to more than 8 bits, due to the relatively high noise of this camera, as compared to more typical broadcast cameras.

In my experience, while it was a wonderful step-up from my Z1, certainly it’s recordings are noisier than I’d like, leading me to pretty-process certain footage (using Neat Video denoising plugin to my NLE).  And as a recent project with reasonably well-lit green-screen illustrated, it’s noise in shadows can be a particularly nuisance (much time in post experimenting to work around this).

So I wondered:

  • Even if marginal, to what extent is 10-bit beneficial to EX3 recording?
  • For the EX3, when recording 10-bit, it is also 4:2:2, surely a benefit to chroma keying and resizing (reframing, stabilising/deshaking/tracking).
  • Could the benefit depend on editing workflow?  For example:
    • What if subsequently de-noising (like I mentioned)?
    • Some NLE’s do bits-dithering, hiding the quantisation/banding that would otherwise be apparent from having only 8 bits.

I need to do my own experiments, but for now, here (below) are some results from web-searching…

Read the rest of this entry »

Sony EX3 for Green Screen (Greenscreen)

November 4th, 2012

 Tips on using an EX3 for chromakey (e.g . Greenscreen) work


Sony EX3 Settings Videos (& Comments)

November 4th, 2012

I’ve used the EX3 since it came out, 2008, but it’s always good to compare agains others’ experiences.   Only recently have I used it in different ways (green-screen, on-set monitor).


EX3 SDI Output

November 4th, 2012

 Worked, but config was not as straightforward as I first (naively) assumed:

The big “Gotcha”:

  • Must first Disable the iLink (IEEE 1394, small FireWire) interface. Otherwise SDI won’t work at all.  I guess EX3’s SDI & iLink might share some circuitry?
    • In EX3 Menu, OTHERS category (last i.e. final category):
      • [i.Link I/O] :Disable.

Then, in EX3 Menu, VIDEO SET category (3rd category), then:

  • [YPbPr/SDI Out Select] : HD
  • [YPbPr/SDI Out Display] : Off

This worked fine in practice.


  • Under EX3 OTHERS Menu-Category:
    • With EX3 [Country] = [NTSC Area]:
      • “HQ 1080/60i” gives [1080 interlaced 59.94fps 4:2:2 YUV10].
      • “HQ 1080/30p” gives [1080 progressive 29.97fps 4:2:2 YUV10 ].
      • “HQ 1080/24p” gives ??? (Cinedeck accepted it only at 30 fps)
    • With (correspondingly) [PAL Area]:
      • “HQ 1080/50i” gives [1080 interlaces 50fps 4:2:2 YUV10]

Read the rest of this entry »

Effects-Order: Denoise before Deshake

November 1st, 2012

This is my impression, from the expressed views of others:

  • If you have e.g. 60i or 50i then do any stabilization first, so it gets maximum temporal information, prior to any deinterlacing e.g. to corresponding 30p or 25p.  Presumably if double-deinterlacing e.g. to 60p or 50p then this is immaterial.
  • If you’re using noise reduction, always do that prior to stabilisation as it helps the algorithm to concentrate on wanted detail and not on random noise. But then if it’s Neat Video denoising then that works best with stable progressive material.

Read the rest of this entry »

Boris FX Webinar Gems

October 4th, 2012

SternFX for Adobe AE & Boris eg Broadcast Templates

Boris Broadcast Templates: http://www.sternfx.com/products/51

Boris TV: http://www.borisfx.com/videos

Parallels 8

September 22nd, 2012

For occasional convenience, I use Parallels 6.  Now I am considering upgrading to 8.

  • http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/parallels_unleashes_desktop_8_a_major_upgrade/
    • The many enhancements in Desktop 8, including Windows 8 support, are aimed at making the integration between these two OSes even more seamless.
    • Improved speed. Parallels claims that Desktop 8 performance is up to 30 percent faster for input/output operations, 30 percent faster for games and up to 25 percent faster for virtual machine operations such as boot, suspend, shutdown and resume, when compared to Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac. The Mac Observer will be publishing a full review of Desktop 8, including benchmarks, in the near future.
  • http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/parallels-desktop-8-vs-vmware-fusion-5-benchmark-showdown
    • OpenGL performance was good for all configurations, although Parallels performed about 20 percent better in the Windows 7 tests.
    • Windows 8 on Parallels made up for its inability to run the OpenGL test by scoring the highest on the single- and multi-core rendering tests. Parallels overall scored higher than Fusion, but by less than five percent.
    • The pattern of Parallels holding a slight, but consistent lead over Fusion continues with Geekbench. However, as was mentioned above, both applications have reached near-native processing performance, and virtual performance in all categories is less than five percent off of native Geekbench results on OS X.
    • Windows 8 has a significant advantage over Windows 7 in boot times, and Windows 8 via Parallels recorded an amazingly fast 9 second boot. Loading Windows 8 on Fusion took about five seconds longer, and Windows 7 on Fusion took the longest time, 22 seconds.
    • From Comments:
      • There are things much more important than speed. VMware Fusion works great collecting data on lab machines connected via USB, using Windows on Mac. Parallels Desktop fails all the time: crashes, unexpected Windows reboots, etc, losing precious and expensive experiments, hard work and time. A real nightmare!
        • {But data collection doesn’t sound too stressful, and as always, what was their configuration (especially RAM) and what version of Parallels were they using?  I am specifically interested in Parallels 8.}

OpenOffice Tick/Check Symbol

September 21st, 2012

Using OpenOffice Writer under Windows, I wanted to insert a tick/check symbol.

To do that, you haveto temporarily select the [Open Symbol] font, then scroll down, it is Unicode symbol [U+2714].  Additionally, [U+2714] is the same thing but heavier/bolder.

There is also such a symbol in Wingdings, but its use is advised against, as Wingdings can vary on different systems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Using an XCDAM-EX Video Camera as a Webcam

September 20th, 2012

If you put an XDCAM-EX camera in 1080-SP mode then it generates HDV, which is 1440×1080 but with brick-like pixels and data is at Constant Bit Rate (CBR), a requirement of HDV.  For an XDCAM-EX3, there is a small iLink/Firewire connector at the back, it can be enabled/disabled by the camera’s menu.If you then run Skype, it sees the image, scales it down to Skype-format, namely 640×480 with square pixels, hence 4:3 aspect ratio.   However it does not allow for the difference in pixel shape, with the result that the image looks squashed horizontally.  A nuisance!So I wonder, is there any  interposing software that can e.g. map the pixel shapes properly or even allow some kind of zoom/pan of a (e.g.) 640×480 frame within available (e.g.) 1920×1080 (equivalent, when pixel-shape converted) image from HD or HDV camera?

  • http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdcam-ex-cinealta/479844-need-help-doing-webcast-shoot-ex3.html
  • http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/142/864423
    • The EX in HDV mode (SP) and iLink has worked for me. I’ve done it with Telestream Wirecast (another COW forum you’ll find my floating head) for live streaming.
  • http://www.b-roll.net/forum/showthread.php?t=26269
    • Someone having difficulties, others offering advice on XDCAM-EX settings, though I’m not convinced that all of them are necessary)
  • http://www.ehow.com/how_12174693_use-hdv-camera-skype.html
    • Debut Video Recording software (free)
    • Instructions:
      • Connect the video cable plug on the USB video-capture device to the video input on the camera cable. Video cable plugs and inputs are usually color-coded yellow.
      • Plug the camera cable into the camera.
      • Plug the USB video-capture device into an open USB port on your computer.
      • Download “Debut Video Recording Software 1.42” or a later version and install the application on your computer.
      • Launch the software.
      • Click “Device” from the toolbar menu and then go to Step 7. If the software doesn’t recognize your HDV camera, click “Options.” Click the “Video Capture Device” arrow and select your camera from the list. Confirm that the “Format” and “Device” settings are correct or make changes, if needed. Click “OK” to continue.
      • Click the “Skype” icon on your computer’s taskbar and select “Open Skype.”
      • Right-click the person you want to call under “Contacts.”
      • Navigate to “Share Your Screen” and select “Share Selection.”
      • Use your mouse and drag the black box down to the inside of the video-capture software’s display area.
      • Resize the black box to fit within the display area.
      • Click on the “Start Screen Sharing” box in the upper left corner of the video display area.
      • Click “OK” in the Screen Sharing dialogue box. A “Starting Video” message will appear.
      • Wait until the person you are calling picks up. The “Screen Sharing Active” message confirms the connection
      • Read more: How to Use an HDV Camera for Skype | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_12174693_use-hdv-camera-skype.html#ixzz272JXfJGR

Apps for Video Recording, Switching & Broadcasting (including Skype)

September 20th, 2012

I got the impression that WireCast (Windows & Mac) was the most popular choice, notably including that made by an expert reviewing site.  I understand (haven’t tested) that the current Windows version (Mac to come later) can “broadcast” to a virtual camera e.g. acceptable to Skype.  Also it works the other way round, so e.g. Skype interviews can be included in a broadcast program. Read the rest of this entry »

Blackmagic Cinema Camera – Accoutrements

September 20th, 2012

 Some accessories, lenses and grip, from reviews and adverts I came across (or that came across me):

Having a mid-sized sensor, people tend to be concerned over its wide-angle and depth-of-field aspects.  Hence a lot of focus on lenses.

  • http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagiccinemacamera
    • The camera itself – official site.
  • http://www.fstopacademy.com/blog/new-gear-at-ibc-2012/
    • Lenses recommended for the Micro 4/3rds Mount variant of the Black Magic Cinema Camera :
      • Can take a $50 vintage lens up to a $30K Cine Lens
    • For wide-angle:
      • £600 Sigma 8 to 16 lens (Den bought one of these)
      • Tokina 11 to 16 lens, is faster (f2.8)
      • Canon 10 to 22, is slower but very low-cost
    • Micro- 4/3rds lenses:
      • 12mm HyperPrime, is f1.6, ie very fast.
      • 8mm Sigma lenses
  • My links:
    • http://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com/
      • Lenses and more…
    • http://nofilmschool.com/2012/09/wide-angle-lenses-compared-blackmagic-cinema-camera/
      • Mentions in text:
        The one lens that has been talked about the most as a possible fast wide for the Cinema Camera is the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, which is almost two stops faster at its minimum. For those worried about shooting in lower light, RAW is going to give you a lot of range to work with, and a lens like the Tokina is going to be plenty fast enough for a lot of situations.After image quality and design quirks, the most discussed topic regarding the new Blackmagic Cinema Camera is lenses. Specifically, the issue regarding wide lenses. Since the BMCC‘s sensor is slightly smaller than Micro Four-Thirds, but uses a Canon mount, one of the complaints has been that it won’t be possible to get a sufficiently wide image with the available lenses in that mount. The team over at OneRiver Media set out to prove exactly what was possible with current wide lenses, and they’ve also created one of the first short projects shot completely on the Cinema Camera (besides everything that John Brawley has done so far, of course).

        Personally, I really like the Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 HSM lens so far. It doesn’t have any barrel distortion at all and the edges stay straight throughout. Sharpness isn’t bad either, even wide open. The Canon 8-15mm f/4L is clearly the widest, but has obvious barrel distortion. Zoom in to 15mm and the distortion goes away for the most part. It’s a sharp lens throughout. And the solid build-quality is typical of all Canon L lenses; very nice. The Rokinon 8mm T3.8 cinema prime lens is just a shy less wide than the Canon 8-15mm lens, and has its own share of barrel distortion, albeit less than the Canon. Fully wide open, this lens is soft. To get decent sharpness, you need to stop down to about T5.6.

    • Cam etc. Mounting Systems for it:

Mocha – Planar Tracker for Rotoscope and General Use

September 20th, 2012


  • Mocha is (originally/primarily?) a rotoscoping program with a tightly integrated planar tracker (to simplify the rotoscoping).
  • Regardless of the program’s origin, it is useful more generally as a planar tracker.  That is, the tracking of reference points/shapes across planes (or almost-planes, such as cheeks).
  • The tracking data can be exported to a wide variety of programs such as Nuke, After Effects, Combustion and many more for corner pinning, stabilizing, and match move

Read the rest of this entry »

My GPU is Definitely Too Old for Adobe Mercury Engine

September 16th, 2012


  • This hives “hacks” for “unlocking” the use of a non-approved GPU card by Adobe’s Mercury Engine – though obviously at one’s own risk…
  • However the current GPU in my desktop, Geforce 8800 GT,  is not recommended for such action, as it has insufficient RAM, namely 0.5GB.
    • This is implied from the fact that the Geforce 9600 GT is specifically “Not recommended” on precisely that basis.

Chromakeying in After Effects (e.g. linked to Premiere)

September 3rd, 2012


  • Put the two layers in Premiere tracks
  • Send it to AE
    • [Replace with AE Composition]
  • In AE use Keylight (offers more control than Premiere’s Ultra vector-keyer)
  • Simply switch back to Premiere, it’s already in the timeline
  • {BUT … does that constitute “Dynamic Linking”, which I have heard is inefficient on cpu/speed?}

MacBook Pro (2009): Boot Camp: Windows 7 (64): FW & ExpressCard Issues

September 2nd, 2012

My MacBook Pro, of 2009 vintage, has both FireWire 800 (FW 800) and ExpressCard among its data & communications ports.  These work fine in Mac OS X, but not in [Boot Camp > Windows 7 (64-bit)].  That’s how it’s always been with this laptop.  A while has passed since I last searched the web, so I wondered whether any solution had finally been found.  I was prompted by the serendipitous discovery (in a desk drawer) of an ExpressCard to FireWire card, offering dual FS800 ports.  It was originally purchased in an attempt to work around the non-functioning (in BC-W7) native FW port of the machine, but that attempt had not, to date, been successful.  I wondered if maybe a solution to using that work-around might now be available.


Sadly I just wasted valuable time looking around.  All I confirmed was that I was not alone with this problem.

Read the rest of this entry »

Adobe Premiere CS5.5: Issues With VST

September 1st, 2012

Just as I’m starting to get used to Adobe Premiere CS5.5, I notice that its audio effects listing (in menus etc.) does not my system’s VST collection.  Most annoyingly, because of that, my iZotope Ozone effects are excluded from Premiere.  Seems unreasonable, given my long track record of employing such plugins in Sony Vegas.

I spent a good hour or two trying to understand and solve this, including much googling.  At the end of that, I’m not sure what the problem is exactly, but it does look to me like Premiere is slightly lacking with regard to its ability to interface to VST effects.  For a start, one of its assumed registry entries appears inappropriate to Windows 7 64-bit.  Having hacked that into shape, Premiere at least noticed the existence of Ozone (and other VST effects on my system) then found itself unable to load it.

The best solution I found was really a work-around.   Prom Premiere timeline, [aClip >RtClk> Edit in Adobe Audition].   That application has no trouble recognising iZotope plugins.  However before getting too blinkered, try the native Audition effects first, including Noise Reduction, because they are pretty-good.

Read the rest of this entry »

Adobe Production CS6 – Cache & Render Files and their Locations

September 1st, 2012

When I start-up any application, I like to understand at least the main side-effects it’s having on my system.  In the case of Adobe’s primary video-editing apps, Premiere and After Effects, my experience (on Windows 7) is that they save intermediate preview-renders to the system volume.  This causes me the following concerns:

  • System Volume may serve poorly as a media drive.
    • Larry Jordan, at least in the recent past, advises against using the system drive for media read/write.  On the upside, such drives may have high-bandwidth to the system, but on the downside, the system can interrupt their use with highest priority, whuch may (I guess) pose a risk to smooth playback (though I am aware that buffering may possibly reduce this risk, I haven’t done or seen any such calculations).  Cache files are indeed media files that are written and read.
    • On the other hand, an informed representative of a well-known UK supplier of video editing laptops advised me that in his experience, most users of laptops with only a single internal drive (as system drive) do use that drive in this way (for portability).
  • System drive can become “clogged up”
    • System drive can become clogged-up by many or large video files of which that the user is only partially aware, their creation having happened implicitly during their use of the NLE etc.  Like temporary files only worse!
    • Ultimately the system drive can even become full, making the operating system itself sluggish or even less stable (and video playback less smooth.
    • Backup of a system drive that includes media files will typically require significantly greater archive space and will take significantly greater time (than a clean system).
  • Migrate-ability is reduced
    • I like the idea of a video project being a free-floating data-object.  That is, it should not be tied to any particular instance of a data storage volume, let alone a particular computer (system).  It should be possible for all files relevant to a project to be stored on any volume, migrated to any other volume, plugged into any computer having appropriate installed applications, and everything to work the same way as when the project was on its original volume being edited on the original system.  That includes not only the source media files etc. but also the intermediate rendered files.

So what do the Adobe editing applications provide to enable my preferred working arrangement?

  • Premiere:
    • [Edit > Preferences > Media]
      •  This defines the location of the folder [Media Cache Files], which contains pseudorandomly-named files.  Example Files:
        • [929_4372_01-125eeda9-ba0d-a8ea-4418-3480000001f0.ims]
        • [Rendered – 68721ea9-25e9-4f56-8430-4ca10101ace7-04602910-cd54-1a45-a5d7-557b000001f2.ims]
      • Default location: [c:\Users\…\AppData\roaming\Adobe\Common]
      • [Yes] Save Media Cache files next to originals when possible
        • e.g. for my XDCAM-EX files, inside a CLIPR folder (which contains the EX’s “essence” (.mp4) files, in this case [929_4491_01.MP4]), appeared the following files:
          • 929_4491_01.MP4 48000.cfa (9.2 MB)
            • Unknown, but the “48000” and the “a” on the end of “cfa” are suggestive of audio.
          • 929_4491_01.MP4 48000.pek (37KB)
            • Simply the peaks (waveform graphics data) file for the audio component of the essence-file.
        • Experience:
          • I clicked the [Browse] button and selected an area on my external media drive (a GRaid Mini) as: [H:\_App_Specific\Adobe].
          • Consequently, at my specified location the following folder appeared: [Media Cache Files]
    • Media Cache Database
      • Note:
        • When Premiere Pro imports video and audio in some formats, it processes and caches versions of these items that it can readily access when generating previews. Imported audio files are each conformed to a new .cfa file, and MPEG files are indexed to a new .mpgindex file. The media cache greatly improves performance for previews, because the video and audio items do not need to be reprocessed for each preview.
        • When you first import a file, you may experience a delay while the media is being processed and cached.
          A database retains links to each of the cached media files. This media cache database is shared with Adobe Media Encoder, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Encore, and Soundbooth, so each of these applications can each read from and write to the same set of cached media files.
      • Location: [c:\Users\…\AppData\roaming\Adobe\Common]
        • [Browse]
          • If you change the location of the database from within any of these applications, the location is updated for the other applications, too.
          • Each application can use its own cache folder, but the same database keeps track of them.
          • Example Experience:
            • I clicked the [Browse] button and selected an area on my external media drive (a GRaid Mini) as: [H:\_App_Specific\Adobe].
            • In response, a prompt came up saying “Move the existing media cache database to the new location, or delete it (Buttons: [Move] [Delete] [Cancel] ).
            • I clicked [Move]
            • Consequently, at my specified location the following folder appeared: [Media Cache]
      • Purging
        • [Clean]
          • This removes “orphan” cache files.
          • To remove conformed and indexed files from the cache and to remove their entries from the database, click [Clean]. This command only removes files associated with footage items for which the source file is no longer available.
            • Important: Before clicking the [Clean] button, make sure that any storage devices that contain your currently used source media are connected to your computer.
      • [Yes] Write XMP ID To Files On Import
        • Check this box to write ID information into XMP metadata fields.
        • e.g. hence [929_4491_01M01.XMP] sidecar-file (containing XMP metadata) got written into the CLIPR folder containing its associated media  file, here an XDCAM-EX essence file, [929_4491_01.MP4].
      • [Yes] Enable Clip And XMP Metadata Linking Check this box to link clip metadata to XMP metadata, so that changing one changes the other.
    • Intermediate-Preview Render Files
      • None of the above measures affect where intermediate/preview files get rendered to…
        • I proved this (in Windows 7) by deliberately causing a render then searching on “Huge” (>16MB) files created “Today”
        • Rendered files location was:[C:\Users\…\Documents\Adobe\Premiere Pro\5.5\Adobe Premiere Pro Preview Files\Untitled3.PRV]
      • A brief Google revealed several articles where the (sadly now obsolete) solution was a setting under [Edit > Preferences > Scratch Disks]
      • Eventually discovered that in CS5.5 these settings now resided in: [Project > Project Settings > Scratch Disks]
        • Here, all settings (affecting Capture and  Preview) were set to [Same as Project]
        • As it happened, my project location was [C:\Users\David\Documents\Adobe\Premiere Pro\5.5].
      • Experiment with a different project location:
        • Save As: [H:\_Media\_Projects\MyProject\030 Projects\Adobe\Experiments]
          • The file [Expt A v001.prproj] appeared in it, but that was all.
        • Save a Copy: [H:\_Media\_Projects\MyProject\030 Projects\Adobe\Experiments]
          • The file [Expt A v001 Copy.prproj] appeared there, but that was all.
        • (The file open within Premiere remained as the original, not the copy)
        • After a while, the project file was joined by: [Adobe Premiere Pro Auto-Save]
      • Experiment to migrate the Preview-Render files:
        • In Windows Explorer, I created a folder named [Adobe Premiere Pro Preview Files]
        • Into that folder, from the similarly-named folder on the system volume, I dragged the existing folder [Untitled3.PRV]
      • Experiment: Premiere “knows” when render-files have gone, and prompts for their possible new location.
        • I deleted the project-specific render-files folder on the (external) project-drive.
        • I re-rendered, resulting in a fresh such folder, re-populated.
        • In Premiere, I Closed the project
        • Then in Windows I renamed the project-specific render-files folder, then back in Premiere I re-opened the project.
          • Premiere prompted with Browser titled: “Where is the File ‘Rendered – 5ac…..228.mpeg’?”
          • I selected the stated file in its newly-renamed folder, Premiere then found all the others there.
        • Result: the timeline render-region went green (i.e. “probably playable”).
      • Experiment: Once render-files are regarded as “gone”, they cannot be restored.
        • I closed the project, ensuring I did not save changes (such as the new location of the render files), then re-opened it.
          • As in the previous experiment (since I did not save changes), the render files folder could not be found.
          • Premiere thus prompted with Browser titled: “Where is the File ‘Rendered – 5ac…..228.mpeg’?”
          • This time however I simply used the [Skip All] option.
        • Closed the project.
        • Renamed the rendered-files folder back to its original name.
        • In Premiere, re-opened the project.
          • The timeline region remained red, indication no render-files were associated.
      • Experiment: Tidy migration of a project to a new location.
        • Warnig: in the case of doing a Copy (which is Windows’ default drag operation between different volumes), take care to ensure the Project (file) is not simply referencing the original preview files at the old location…
        • Drag both Project and its folders (including render-file folder) to a new location (e.g. on a new disk).
        • If name and relative location of folder are unchanged (as they ought to be, in good practice) then the files will be automatically detected and used, not even a user-prompt.
          • Just be sure though that the project isn’t simply referencing the render-files in their original location, if they are still present there.  Premiere is “lazy” in this respect.
      • Experiment: The relative location of the Rendered Files folder does matter (relative to the project file).
        • Tried putting the render files in a non-standard location.
          • The “Locate/Browse” prompt appeared
          • I located the file
          • All at first appeared well, and the corresponding section of the timeline went green
          • However, the “Composer” window simply displayed “Media Pending”.  That never went away.
      • Experiment:
        • When migrating, also need to move (or copy):
          • The Media Cache directories
            • Actually I’m not so sure about this. I tried exiting Premiere, renaming these directories and opening Premiere.  It created and repopulated the same directories in their original location, which in my case was an external drive.
          • The Source Media files
    • http://forums.adobe.com/thread/784220?tstart=0
      • I suggest marking each external with the drive letter that the user assigns to it, say Z:\. Then, whenever Z:\ is plugged in, it will always be seen as Z:\. This way, the NLE can keep up with where the Assets are located, starting with the drive letter.
      • If one is migrating Projects between computers, they will repeat this exact process in the OS of each computer.
      • Note: when doing the migration, ALL Assets, Scratch Disks, and the Project file, MUST be included on that external

Work Procedure for Migrate-ability:

  • By associating cache and XMP files with the media (or its essence), Adobe projects are migratable.  However adding such files into the BPAV/CLIPR folder structure is considered by some applications to be an adulteration of that structure, requiring their deletion.   However, such deletion on an as-needed basis is not too onerous – given it is easy to do and in any case this situaion should rarely arise in practice.
  • When using different disks, remember to re-define (in Preferences) the location of cache files etc.
    • One work-around would be to -re-set the cache location before opening any individual project.
      • Might be hard to remember to do when opening a project from within the NLE, easier to remember when double-clicking a project file in Windows Explorer.still
    • I’m not 100% sure what to do about these…
  • As noted earlier:
    • When doing the migration, ALL Assets (Sources), Scratch Disks (Renders), and the Project file, MUST be included on that external.
      • I note that this says nothing about Cache Files etc. …

MacBook Pro > Boot Camp > Windows 7: FireWire & ExpressCard Port Issues

September 1st, 2012

This is a long-standing problem to which it seems there might never be a solution…

Websearch on [MacBook Pro > Boot Camp > Windows 7] re not-working-properly of:

  •  FW800
  • ExpressCard Slot

Links I found (if only for posterity):

  • e.g. Google: [macbook pro boot camp express card recognized]
  • https://discussions.apple.com/thread/1770784?start=0&tstart=0
    • Q:
      • I have just tried the Express 3/4 wireless card from Ubitquiti. After booting up in Bootcamp, and inserting the card, I did not receive the “Found New Hardware” dialog. I am unable to find the device in the device manager. It appears that bootcamp may not support the Express 3/4 card slot.
      • I can see when I boot OS X that the card is recognized, but it does not have a driver for it. So I know the H/W appears to be functional.
    • A:
      • In subsequent experimentation, I am finding that if the card is inserted when I bootup with bootcamp, then the expresscard/34 is recognized. However if I insert the card after having been booted, the card does not get recognized.
  • http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=783982
    • Q:
      • I’ve got Windows 7 RC 64-bit installed on a 2.53 GHz MacBook Pro (dual boot using Boot Camp) with an ExpressCard slot. I also got a FileMate SolidGO 3FMS4D48M-WR 48GB ExpressCard SSD; the drive works beautifully under OS X, but is not recognized at all by Windows 7 when it’s in the ExpressCard slot. In Device Manager, the yellow caution icon appears in front of the Standard ACHI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. The drive does not show under Disk drives or in Disk Manager. The corresponding Device Status message is: “This device cannot find enough free resources that it can use (Code 12). If you want to use this device, you will need to disable one of the other devices on this system.”
      • The drive is recognized as SATA under Mac OS X and also works fine in Windows when plugged into a USB port instead of the ExpressCard slot (at which point it is not treated as SATA, but USB). I’ve tried the latest Boot Camp drivers, but that has no effect. Any suggestions?
    • A:
      • Unfortunately for Unibody users like myself with the Nvidia MCP79 chipset there hasn’t been a solution found yet – it’s discussed towards the end of the thread. I’m going to try and help when I have time but until they find a solution or Apple release what would be quite a simple EFI patch to enable it in the BIOS emulation we’re stuck with PATA and your SSD won’t work

External Storage Devices and their Bandwidths

September 1st, 2012
  • Summarised info from http://forums.adobe.com/thread/784220?tstart=0
    • Average transfer rates in MB/s for different interfaces:
      • USB2:    20 – 25, depending on other USB devices sharing the same bandwidth
        • archiving for storage only
      • FW400:  30 – 35
        • archiving for storage, and light editing to/from (just very slow)
      • FW800:  50 – 60
        • archiving for storage, and regular editing to/from (fairly fast)
      • USB3:    65 – 80, depending on other USB devices sharing the same bandwidth
        • (no experience)
      • eSATA & SATA: 100 -140
        • archiving for storage, and regular editing to/from
    • RAID Speed-gains over a single disk:
      • RAID0:    0.9 x N disks over a single disk
      • RAID3/5: 0.8 x (N-1) disks over a single disk for read, 0.6 x for write.
        • ICHR10 figures are a bit lower than hardware controllers.

Chromakeying (Chroma-Keying) in Boris

September 1st, 2012

The following tutorial is great as it shows how to employ not only the chromakey effect itself (including some typical adjustments and settings values) but also a suite of associated ancillary effects, such as choker, pseudo-spill etc.

Adobe CS6 Upgrade Alongside Existing CS5

September 1st, 2012

Q: Can I install CS6 alongside CS5.5

A: Yes (it seems so, though I’ve yet to confirm it)

Read the rest of this entry »

Cineform and Alpha Channels

August 31st, 2012

The full (paid) version of GoPro-Cineform Neo (as I have) does support alpha channels.

(A colleague initially thought otherwise – but that impression turned out to be based on info from old forum threads)

Read the rest of this entry »

Chroma Upsampling (Chroma Interpolation)

August 31st, 2012

Shooting green-screen onto a 4:2:0 chroma-subsampled format, intending of course to use it for chroma-keying.  Obvious disadvantage is green-ness of green-screen only gets sampled at quarter-resolution.  Not a show-stopper, given my target deliverable is standard definition, but anyhow, towards perfectionism, is there any way to up-sample to 4:4:4 i.e. full definition colour?

It does occur to me that something more sophisticated than chroma blur ought to be possible, broadly along the lines of edge-following methods employed in resizing. What’s out there?

  • Simplest method, that most people seem to use, is chroma-blur.  That’s only the chroma, not the luma.
  • Searching around, Graham Nattress has analysed the problem and seems to have produced a more mathematical approach.  But it’s only available (at time of writing) for Final Cut (which of course is Mac-only at present).

Some tools that “promise” upsampling, but I wonder by what methods:

  • GoPro-CineForm intermediate.  The codec settings include an option to up-sample to 4:4:4
  • Adobe Premiere, but only if a Color Corrector effect employed.
    • But the crucial thing here, regarding the usefulness of this, is whether it uses any better method than chroma blur.

Some questions:

  •  Does Adobe have anything built-in to do something Nattress-like nowadays?
  • DaVinci Resolve?
  • Boris?

Read the rest of this entry »

Adobe Prelude – Usage in Newsroom Context

August 27th, 2012


I don’t work in or for a newsroom as such, but I do cover live events.

The Mars Underground (2011)

August 25th, 2012

As a child I watched in awe the live Apollo moon-missions.  No single thing gave me more admiration for the USA than this, and I was not alone.  Desolate decades followed, of introverted application of far greater sums of money and amounts of energy on transient and unimpressive efforts, on earth and in low earth orbit, the potential just evaporating into nothingness.  Cynicism and opportunism of the new age questioned even that the moon missions had ever happened.  Not that hard to appreciate, given that nothing in space on such a brave and imaginative human scale had happened since.  Great robots and probes, but…

The practical possibility of exploratory missions to Mars was demonstrated decades ago.  Yet nothing happened.  The obstacle: neither technical nor financial, just establishment politics, inertia, entrenchment, fear.  Now, with the success of the “unlikely” technology of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) (“Curiosity”) landing, something has re-awoken.

It is time to recognise, remember and reiterate the potential.  Hopefully I’m contributing at least a tiny element to that spirit here, in my lowly video-technology blog.

This is the hope: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDWvsdEYSqg

Read the rest of this entry »

USB3, eSATA, Thunderbolt: Comparison: I like the look of eSATA

August 12th, 2012

Mac OS Maintenance Tips for Speed

August 11th, 2012


Mac OS: File Stocktaking: Equivalent of TREE (as in DOS)

August 11th, 2012

How, on a Mac OS system, to do the equivalent of TREE in DOS:


  • find . -print | sed -e ‘s;[^/]*/;|____;g;s;____|; |;g’
    • And there is much more on ths in the article, including how to add this “command” to user profile.

My crude adaption of it, to list only the main directories in my [Media] area:

  • find . -type d \! -name “BPAV” \! -name “CLPR” \! -name “TAKR” \! -name “929*” -print | sed -e ‘s;[^/]*/;|____;g;s;____|; |;g’
    • Crude but delivered what I wanted.

Kinefinity’s KineRaw S35

August 9th, 2012

Last night the thought came, if only I could justify getting a Sony F3…

Now possibly the answer to my dreams?  The forthcoming (next year, hopefully) KineRaw S35, by some people’s judgements, is broadly comparable to an Arri or RED but at half the price.  That’s broadly not exactly.  Yes, it’s from China..   I heard about it first from the highly informative NoFilmSchool (well worth joining).

This camera, nearing the end of its development and testing, shoots Raw (straight colours, no debayering), which to naive me sounds like big bandwidths and files, but as it happens, one of its options is to record to GoPro-Cineform RAW (10-bit log90) format.  This, if I read the article by Jake Seagraves (as of 9 August 2012) correctly, for a 2K frame, has typically the same bandwidth as GoPro-Cineform HDV (1440×1080), namely/numerically around 15 MB/sec (=120Mb/s).  I say typically because it is a Variable Bit Rate format, so obviously it depends on scene (including noise) complexity.   By comparison, HDV 1440×1080 m2t (long-GOP Mpeg2), like DV, are about 25Mb/s.  So Cineform is then about 5 times bigger than HDV and DV – the unavoidable cost of being “visually lossless”.

Some informative links I chanced upon:

  • Brief specs: http://www.tarmakmedia.com/2011/blog/kinefinity-kineraw-s35-2k-cine-camera/
  • Main Site (still being edited at time of writing): http://www.kineraw.com/kineraw_s35_1.html
  • http://www.eoshd.com/comments/topic/873-download-raw-footage-from-the-kineraw-s35/page__st__20
    • “…the Vimeo version is a shadow of the image quality the uncompressed footage can show since to post on Vimeo I need to compress MPEG4v2 and that mucks up the image with block artifacts…”
  • https://vimeo.com/45595673
    • Yes I can pull the shadows up maybe 3 to 4 stops without major issues and perhaps 6 stops if you apply more forcefull noise reduction in post. The maximum would be about 8 stops of lift but probably not for Blu-ray use as compressed end use formats need noiseless result frames.
    • Some cameras use temporial noise reduction in the camera to get lower noise at high ISO, but these are raw recording cameras so you would use temporal noise reduction as well as area filters and chroma cleaners as a normal part of post production, so take that into account.
    •  35mm film scans are now ‘always’ de-grained and dust-busted with powerful software to get a usable result, most people don’t know how much grain ‘raw’ film scans can show because all they see are heavily digitally processed film scans. Likewise a True RAW recording Digital Cinema Camera gives you ‘raw’ DNG that are like raw film scans in that they should undergo de-grain and filtering to make the results look better, …
    • Cineform ™ is like RED ™’s REDCODE ™ in that it is wavelet compression
  • http://nofilmschool.com/2012/08/the-kineraw-s35-is-a-sony-f3-with-raw-half-the-price
    • https://vimeo.com/46156047#
      • Sensor: the 2K model has a 4K sensor, downscaled by pixel-binning (hence all pixels get used).  Moire/Detail tradeoff optimizable by customizable Low-Pass-Filter (LPF).  CMOS hence rolling-shutter.
      • Exposure: Around 12 stops of latitude.  Base ISO is around 800, variable from 8 to 10,000 (above which noise becomes a problem).
      • Hardware: Has a fan, its speed/noise depending on temperature.  No battery of its own, just a (standard) power socket.
      • Audio: Two XLRs but they are only line-level (no mic, let alone phantom…)
      • Video: Two SDIs BUT these are only intended for monitoring, e.g. they only carry 8 bits.
      • Weight is around 4 kG.  Not as light as an F3 but not as heavy as an Arri.
      • Recording: Own-brand KineMag SSDs are only needed for “True Raw” DNG recording (800 MB/s), alternatives can be used for Cineform RAW recording (around 100Mb/s VBR).
      • Monitor outputs e.g. to feed SmallHD monitor (or others), include overlays for Waveform Monitor, Histogram (with separate colours), Zoom (e.g. for focus assist) up to 800%

Mac Pro Disk Failure & Recovery

August 9th, 2012

Computer increasingly slow on start-up, eventually becomes sporadic in its ability to succeed, unexpected error messages…

Yes, it’s Disk Failure Time !  This time it was on my Mac Pro (desktop)

So I did these things:

  • Copied latest stuff to a portable (WD Passport) drive:
    • I copied documents, videos and downloads
    • I generated a list of installed applications, both 32-bit and 64-bit.
  • Opened up the machine to remove drives (and at the same time to hoover-out dust).
  • Procured a replacement hard drive
    • Google-search revealed my old drive to be obsolete, no longer (easily) available
    • Phoned a local computer tech wizardry shop, who fix Macs as well as PCs, and they had a suitable replacement drive (a WD SATA 1TB drive, twice the size of the old/failing one.
    • Bought that very disk.
  • Fitted the disk, as sole disk, and recovered both the Mac OS and Boot Camp > W7 partitions, according to the “DO” (not “DON’T”) branch of the instructions listed at http://blog.davidesp.com/archives/300
    • It took about an afternoon.  The longest stages were the actual restorings from backup.
  • For W7
    • The first thing I updated was the antivirus.  This was for the app as well as the database, and it wasn’t quick.  No reboot needed though.
    • Otherwise, two or three reboots were required, including first-use, windows updates critical, windows updates optional.

Joomla at Microsoft for Windows

July 30th, 2012

Google Docs: Spreadsheet: Rows Misaligned (visible vs selectable)

July 30th, 2012


  • I have a large-ish spreadsheet in Google Docs.  Its rows have been getting increasingly misaligned.  Misalignment here means if I click on a visible row it actually selects a different row.


  • Zoom to unity i.e. 100%
    • To do that, do Ctrl-0 on Windows or Cmd-0 on Mac.  That’s digit zero (0) not letter (o).  Stupid ambiguous characters!

PC is better than Mac for Avid?

July 13th, 2012

http://community.avid.com/forums/t/110729.aspx (as of 2012-07-13, various people/posts)

  • A lot of people including myself are worried about Apple’s lack of support for pro gear. They haven’t updated since 2010 so there’s speculation on them pulling the plug on Mac Pro’s altogether. I know that when this Mac dies Im switching entirely to PC’s. All the post houses use PC’s in london and they rarely crash or lag…never seen a Mac Pro hooked up to a DX nitris…
  • If you want a qualified Avid PC, check out the 800.
    • {HP Z800}
  • You can also wait to see if/when Avid will approve the new HP Z820. That’s an actual modern system, with on-board USB3 etc.
  • As a house that runs Avid on both platforms, I can tell you from experience Avid is more stable/solid on PC.
  • no one for mac?   i’ve been working with avid exclusively on mac for 20+ years now – no problems at all.

RAID / NAS etc Ideas

July 7th, 2012

Some RAID ideas:

J-Cuts: Origin & Nature: Nice Explanation

July 7th, 2012

I came across this, one of the nicest explanations ever:

  • http://forums.creativecow.net/archivethread/27/179071#181328
    • J cut, sound precedes picture. Audio before video.
      • You’re still looking at a scene and the sound from the next scene begins before the cut.
    • The Graduate was one of the first features to use this technique extensively to transition between scenes.
      • Dustin Hoffman in his car on the freeway, sound of knocking on the door, cut to door opening at the girlfriends apartment.
    • The L cut is the other way around, you still hear the sound from the previous shot but you’re all ready looking at the next shot.
    • If you put a dissolve or other transition between the shots then it isn’t an L cut or a J cut anymore even though the sound may lead or follow picture.
    • In essence, they are a great way to extend, if not to fake, continuity when it isn’t really there.

Video with 10-Bit Channels

July 5th, 2012

If I had a 10-bit video recording such as from the PIX 240, would I know what to do with it, in order to make full use of the 10-bit information?  This question is important, because it cannot be assumed that this is simply a case of inputting it into any arbitrary nonlinear editing system (NLE) – not all NLEs preserve the extra information – and even for those that do, the workflow and configuration must be set up appropriately.  And even having got that right, how can we verify all is working as expected?  Can the NLE’s own effects and waveform monitors etc. be trusted to preserve the extra bits?

Having discovered some sample 10-bit footage at http://www.sounddevices.com/products/pix240/sample_files/ (as reported at http://blog.davidesp.com/archives/570), I was prompted to do some experiments in a few NLEs.   I based the experiments on the following two DNxHD files, as recorded by a PIX 240, both 1920x1080p29.97 and around half a minute in duration.

  • dnxhd220mb_8_29.97.mov = 8-bit
  • dnxhd220mb_10_29.97.mov = 10-bit

The comparison was based on an area of sky at the top-left of frame (in each case), with its (limited) levels-range mapped to full video range, so as to make 8-bit quantization-banding appear.

Conclusions (as far as I can tell from experiments):

  • Adobe Premiere:
    • Propagates the 10-bit footage’s information, achieving better image quality than for the 8-bit footage.
      • However this only happens when correctly configured and then only for certain effects.
    • The Fast Color Corrector levels-mapping appears to introduce some kind of dithering.
      • Hence while the expected banding is visible for 8-bit footage, it is slightly “blurred” on the Waveform Monitor and the resulting image looks more ragged than banded.
      • Nevertheless, the 10-bit footage through this same process has no such banding at all, and resulting the image looks obviously better.
      • None of the cases at http://blogs.adobe.com/VideoRoad/2010/06/understanding_color_processing.html apply here since no blur effect was used.
    • The result of Fast Color Corrector levels-mapping on 10-bit footage result also looks slightly brighter than that on 8-bit footage – presumably a mapping-inconsistency in Premiere?
    • Some other non-obvious pitfalls exist when making such comparisons:
  • Sony Vegas 10
    • Ignores the extra information in the 10-bit footage, evem for Project Settings of 32-bit.
  • Avid Symphony 6
    • AMA appears to truncate to 8-bit, at least it seems so based on what appears in Avid’s Waveform monitor.
    • Import of the given DNxHD-220 to Avid-Import-DNxHD-220 appears to give same result.
    • I assume I am missing something here, some knowledge and/or step and/or monitoring method…

The configurations I used within each application:

  • Sony Vegas 10:
    • Project Properties
      • 1920x1080p29.97. Not automatically readable by Vegas from the DNxHD format.
      • Pixel Format: 32-bit floating point (video levels)
    • Waveform Monitor via: Video Scopes > Waveform
    • Sky-range mapped to full range via: Sony Levels FX
  • Adobe Premiere CS 5.5:
    • Computer had a non Mercury Engine compatible GPU hence software-only graphics / effects processing.
    • Waveform Monitor via: Reference Monitor > YC Waveform
    • Sky-range mapped to full range via: Fast Color Corrector > Input Levels
      • (Prior to that tried various “Levels” effects but they did not work properly in this context)
    • Sequence Setting: Maximum Bit Depth (else levels-resolution was truncated to 8-bit)
  • Avid Symphony (hence presumably also Media Composer) 6

Seagate Barracuda ES.2.SATA ST3500320NS: Firmware Update How?

July 4th, 2012

My RAID has 8x disks: ST3500320NS, which are Seagate Barracuda ES.2.SATA.  One of the disks failed.  An attempt to replace it with a purchased disk failed, because that disk had Firmware version SN04 while the remainder of the disks had Firmware version SN05.

So how easy is it to flash the “offending” new drive with the required Firmware version?  Web-search:

On Seagate’s site:

  • I couldn’t find any downloads for SN05, only for a later version.
  • Others have had the same problem.
  • One person suggested using Instant Chat.
  • I tried that but it is apparently no longer available.
  • I sent an email to their tech support to request SN05 (and explaining why I needed it).

QuickTime is THE Broadcast Standard (not MXF or AVI)

July 4th, 2012


  • {In one of the videos it is stated that QuickTime is the main standard used in broadcasting, and that MXF is not so much, mainly due to the fact that it has been interpreted in different ways by different manufacturers, becoming incompatible among some of them.  That’s my experience also.}


  • Quicktime is well-supported by editing software, is Mac OS and Windows compatible, and supports ProRes and DNxHD. Also Quicktime is well-established in the post industry and has good metadata handling. Though AVI is  a relevant consumer file type, it is – rarely used in professional production.


  • QT was never meant to be a wrapper for acquisition or file transfer between post production applications. It is way too inconsistent. There is a mind numbing combination of color levels, gammas and bit depths replete with defaults and overrides that make QT a bloody mess.
  • Not true. The blackmagic codecs, pro-res, cineform, AJA and other codecs have no such issues when passing material from NLEs to other applications.

PIX 240 Sample Files

July 4th, 2012

I like the look of the PIX 240 10-bit video recorder.  However I want some sample recordings to play with, to play with them, discover/confirm the appropriate workflow and to see how well they work with my various applications (NLEs etc).

Sample footage is indeed available, at: http://www.sounddevices.com/products/pix240/sample_files/

By the way, I got that link by originally going to the website of a London (UK) supplier:  http://wendysbroadcast.co.uk/News/news.php

Boris FX Export Issues

July 4th, 2012

Boris Red is great, but “I learnt the hard way” not use Boris standalone.  From now on I will only use it as a plugin to an NLE, performing the import/export via that instead.  In Red 4, it was possible in Windows to e.g. import DNxHD or Cineform and then export QuickTime>Cineform.  However in Red 5.2 at least, it seems that QuickTime import and export capabilities have been removed.

In more detail:

  • Naively, I tried using Boris Red 5.0 in standalone mode, to import a file, apply an enhancement effect then export to an intermediate file (that I could import back to my NLE).  But it failed.  Different variations on my export attempts failed in different ways, sometimes crashing, sometimes an error message, sometimes a weird image in the result
  • So I updated to Red 5.2, hoping that the problem might be fixed in that version.  However the problem remained, and now there was a further obstacle – Red version 5.2 for Windows removed the ability to export to QuickTime.  At first I thought it was perhaps a case of QuickTime version incompatibility. But no, it appears that this export feature has been deliberately removed from Red, following issues between Red and QuickTime in their newly-shared 64-bit world…
  • In desperation I tried Uncompressed.  Cumbersome in the least and, in the case of external USB2 drives, slow.  However even that attempt failed, with a Boris crash.
  • Finally I gave up and simply applied Red as a plugin to my most flexible available NLE, namely Sony Vegas.

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Avid MC6 Workflows (Offline, Adobe CS5.5) Tutorials

July 1st, 2012

Avid Tutorials

Boris FX / AvidFX: ChromaKey etc Tutorial

July 1st, 2012


Methyl Orange Stain Removal

June 30th, 2012

A friend’s son dropped some methyl orange solution on a light-grey carpet.  Naive attempts by the parent to remove it using “Vanish” (a domestic carpet cleaning product) merely resulted in it changing colour from orange to yellow.  I am no chemist, but here I search for a stain-removal method.

Web-search seems to indicate that:

  • Methyl Orange is a traditional form of dye.
  • Also it is a ph indicator, a water solution of it is orange in its own weakly acidic state, becoming yellower with increasing alkali.  I guess “Vanish” is alkaline then…
  • It is also toxic and could potentially be carcinogenic, e.g. if the powder is inhaled.
  • It breaks down in daylight?
    • In that case maybe all my friend needs to do is hang it ouside in the sunshine?
    • Or does this only happen in the context of specially-treated fibres?
  • ???

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Avid’s PhraseFind

June 26th, 2012

The key tip:

  • Do not hit “RETURN” on the keyboard after bringing up the SEARCH box. That searches just  text. You need to click on the PhraseFind button.

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Avid (MC etc): Prevent Use of System Drive

June 23rd, 2012
  • http://community.avid.com/forums/t/78445.aspx (structured & paraphrased)
    • Main Trick:
      • Set your Media Creation settings to filter out the system drive
      • then open your Site Settings box (under the Special menu)
      • drag the Media Creation setting from your Project window to the Site Setting box.
      • All new projects should now respect your Media Creation settings (although old ones won’t – this will only affect all new projects you create).
    • Safety Net:
      • … create the folder AvidMediaFiles on your [C:] drive and then create a text file called MXF (take the txt extention off of it) inside the AvidMediaFiles folder.  Then if you try to digitize or import to that drive you get an error, because it wants to creat an MXF folder but can’t.  …useful in helping editors remember where to digitize, and to always check their settings.
  • http://www.theeditforum.net/avid-media-composer-tip-1/
    • Under the drive Filtering and Indexing tab make sure all 3 boxes are ticked.
    • This will prevent media being imported, captured or rendered to any drives that can’t handle the selected resolution (Filter Network Drives Based on Resolution). And filter out the System & Launch drives (these are the drives where Avid and your OS are installed – usually the same).
    • Under Media Creation you can also specify which drives different types of media are stored on. So for example, you might have a Unity Partition that is just for Renders etc.
  • http://lfhd.net/2011/07/29/avid-mc-tip-separating-media-by-project/
    • How to separate media by project
      • The [1] folder under [MXF] can be called anything, e.g. a Project name, and reserved for media associated only with that project.  Once renamed, if Avid needs to import anything else, it will create a fresh [1]-folder.


June 22nd, 2012

iPhone App: ShotLister

June 22nd, 2012

Stonehenge Turns a Movie into an iPhone/iPad App (eg for Sale)

June 22nd, 2012


  • Stonehenge Turns Your Indie Film into an iPhone/iPad App
  • …package your film along with a number of extras in a manner similar to a DVD release. This allows you to sell your film in the App store — thereby circumnavigating your way onto an Apple device without having to go through the iTunes movie store.

H264 Profiles: Baseline, Main, High : In Sony Vegas and Sorenson Squeeze

June 21st, 2012


  • For H264-based encoders, their configuration dialog typically offers a choice of Profiles, being Baseline, Main or High.  The default varies over varieties of encoder.  What do these mean exactly, and what guidance is there for choosing between them?
  • How do they influence things (encoding speed, quality, file-size) in practice?
  • What are their specific effects in Sony Vegas (my traditional workhorse) and Sorenson Squeeze (that I am currently experimenting with)?
    • Both of these applications offer (among their choices) CUDA-acceleration for H264 encoding.

The answer(s):

  • Profile controls the degree of sophistication in encoding and decoding.
  • It’s best to choose “High”
    • Baseline is the “cheap & nasty” variety, e.g. making no use of B-Frames.
    • Main is intermediate between Baseline and High.
    • High offers best compression, and is the typical profile for broadcast (BluRay and TV).

Experimentally, I found:

  • Within each encoding tool, viewed on its own:
    • Insignificant differences in encoding time and (perhaps to be expected) only marginal differences in file size.
      • Note: In my experiment I used MainConcept to compress HD 1920×1080 25p footage of a mid-shot of a lecturer in a static scene (himself moving undramatically in the context of static lighting and seen against a static and fairly neutral background).  Settings were for bitrates of 12Mbps average, 24Mbps maximum
  • Comparing the different tools:
    • Squeeze 8.5 took about twice as long as Sony Vegas 11 to encode to the same-specified (as far as I can deterimine) target.
  • I was unable to discern any difference in quality.  A quality measuring method would be useful here!

I have remaining uncertainties about specifying the number of reference-frames, both in general and in terms of how to do this in the various encoding applications.

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Computer Kit-Change Time?

June 21st, 2012

I currently use Mac equipment, but most of what I do is Windows-based.  Although Macs can run Windows under Boot Camp, but there are some shortcomings in practice, the main ones being poor Boot Camp support for FireWire and ExpressCard:

  • On a Mac Pro bought in 2008:
    • FW800 port works OK with an external FW800 hard disk unit, but is unable to drive specialist audio/video equipment.
  • On a MacBook bought at the beginning of 2010:
    • The FW port is unusable, even for an external hard disk unit.  If I try to use it, it works initially then (e.g. after a GB or two) the FW driver crashes and remains offline.
    • The ExpressCard port does not function.
      • Interestingly, placing a Sony SxS video-recording card in the ExpressCard slot causes the operating system (Windows) to search for a matching driver.  However the card never appears in Windows Explorer. Frustratingly “almost there but not quite”…

So Boot Camp is really limitated as regards Windows-based video editing!

As an alternative to Boot Camp, I tried running windows as a virtual machine under the Mac OS application Parallels.  Rendering is surprisingly efficient under this regime, almost 100% of Boot Camp speed, but I found that:

  • FireWire is not supported (at least not in the version I tried)
  • Crashes were not too frequent, but they were more frequent, than under Boot Camp.

So maybe I should try it the other way round!  It is possible to run Mac OS on a Windows PC via an “umbrella scheme” called Hackintosh, whereby various softwares (not called Hackintosh) make the PC look sufficiently like a Mac to allow Mac OS to be installed and booted.

So what kind of PC?

  • Ideally I’d like a “luggable”, say with 24 inch screen and 8 cores.
  • But it can be a fraught business choosing equipment that is compatible with the major NLEs etc.
  • So I took a look at a renowned expert-seller of such equipment, namely DVC.  They offer the HP EliteBook 17″ HP8760W with Quadro 3000 graphic card (suitable for Avid & Adobe Premiere Pro):

Examining the potential of that laptop:

  • CPU:  It is an i7 with 4 cores, 2.3GHz with turbo up to 3.4 GHz
  • GPU: The Quadro 3000, which has 240 pipelines, 2GB memory, and consumes 75W.
  • It can run Hackintosh > Mac OS
    •  Hackintosh: How-To: http://nofilmschool.com/build-a-hackintosh/
    • Google: [HP 8760w hackintosh]
      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sf7rCFCzsPs
        • Hp Elitebook 8740w with Mac OSX Lion 10.7.1 installed
        • Very smooth performance, no display glitches
        • With Lion, unlike Snow Leopard, the USB ports work.
        • Also the FireWire, Webcam, BlueTooth work.
          • {Though from experience I’d want to test that FireWire}
        • However  the following do not work: Track-pad, Fingerprint-reader, Card reader, WiFi.
          • WiFi is partially fixable by using a USB adaptor, but its bandwidth would then be constrained (?)

So that laptop is a definite contender…

Googling further on that model, it becomes apparent that it is available in a variety of customizations:

If I do go for that model, I shall most likely purchase it from DVC, even if I can find it cheaper elsewhere.  I’d rather not take the risk of some subtle error and want to help keep them in business for the future!

Lighting Arrangment Tutorials

June 21st, 2012

Cineform Codec Settings

June 20th, 2012

What are they exactly?

Some tips gained from forums:

  • If the CFHD AVI is brighter gamma-wise and less saturated than expected, then try un-checking the Use Video Systems RGB (Default On) checkboxes for Encode and Decode.
  • Conversely, if the image shadows are darker than expected, check the Use Video Systems RGB checkboxes for both Encode and Decode.
  • Use 709 for everything bigger than SD.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cineform “Automatic” Options

June 20th, 2012

The Cineform codec, like several other codecs, has options whose meaning has never been that clear to me.

  • http://www.hv20.com/showthread.php?3992-CineForm-products/page5 (from 2008)
    • “Automatic”, doesn’t analyze or alter your footage, it just tell the compressors to be interlaced or progressive based on other options selected.
    • Auto givess:
      • 1080i sources will be interlaced
      • 1080i + pulldown removal will be progressive
      • 1080i + deinterlace will be progressive

Great to know!  I always wondered about that.  Having been in doubt, I typically “play safe” by manually specifying instead.

Sorenson Squeeze 8.5 & Cineform: Issue & Fix (Preferences)

June 20th, 2012

I installed Sorenson Squeeze 8.5 onto a [MacPro > BootCamp > Windows 7] machine.  I imported (by drag) one of my standard intermediate files, an AVI containing Cineform video and WAV audio for an HD 1920×1080 (square pixels) frame, progressive.  The image displayed in Squeeze looked squashed, reminiscent of an HDV 1440×1080 stretched-pixel image displayed using square pixels.  But as stated, the source pixels here were square.

The solution was to go in Squeeze’s Preferences and specify that the file-reader it should use for .avi files should be QuickTime, not DirectX etc.  Sounds like Squeeze has a long-standing affinity for QuickTime, which for me is reminiscent of my experiences with Boris RED etc.  Quelle nuisance!

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Sorenson Squeeze CUDA Requirements

June 20th, 2012
  • http://forum.sorensonmedia.com/forum/content.php?264-Mainconcept-H.264-AVC-CUDA
    • MainConcept H.264/AVC CUDA System Requirements
    • In order to take advantage of GPU acceleration of MainConcept H.264/AVC, the following is required:
      • Squeeze 7 or later.
      • NVIDIA video card with CUDA support (any GeForce 8, 9, 100, 200-series GPUs, Fermi, Tesla and Quadro with a minimum of 512 MB.
      • CUDA architecture 1.1 (any card except of 8800 GTS, 8800 Ultra, 8800 GTX and some Teslas and Quadros). CUDA architecture 1.0 to 1.3 implies a Tesla video card. CUDA architecture of 2.0 implies a Fermi video card.
        • I note that the exceptions do not appear to include my MacPro’s card, which is an 8800 GT (without an “S”, “Ultra” or “X” on the end)
      • Windows, XP, Vista, Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit).
        • Minimum NVIDIA Driver version v196.21 (no Fermi support)
        • Minimum NVIDIA Driver version v196.47 (Fermi support)
      • OS X 10.5.7 or later.
        • Minimum NVIDIA CUDA Driver version 3.1.14
        • Minimum NVIDIA GPU Driver version (19.5.9f02)

GPU CUDA Driver Update for Mac BootCamp Windows 7

June 20th, 2012

I have various CUDA-enabled applications and my Mac BootCamp Windows 7 (64-bit) machines have CUDA-capable GPUs (Graphics Cards) but the drivers under Boot Camp make the CUDA features inacessible.

Ordinarily, for a standard windows desktop, it would simply be a case of going to NVIDIA’s site http://www.geforce.co.uk/drivers  and letting it automatically scan your system for the latest compatible driver.  However for the “shrink-wrapped” / “walled garden” world of Macs and MacBooks, the NVIDIA search result just says “contact the manufacturer”.  In other words only the driver supplied with Boot Camp is officially supported.

So in that case, what is not officially supported but does work?  Time for a web-search:

Google: [macbook pro geforce 9600m gt driver]

Obviously I will want to back everything up first…

…but it does sound worth a try.

Avid: Non-Standard Frame Sizes: Unavailable but Workaround-able-ish

June 18th, 2012

I have a wish to make a product with a non-standard frame size 1024×400.   I have found Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere capable of that but could not find any way in Avid to make a project of that size.

Indeed, Avid only offers standard broadcast frame sizes

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Sony VAIO 3D: Suitability as a Luggable Video Editing Machine?

June 12th, 2012

The Sony VAIO 3D, an all-in-one (motherboard is in the screen enclosure) computer, very broadly similar in concept to an iMac, and not to be confused with laptop VAIOs.

Pros (the attraction of it to me):

  • My Dad has one, for his 3D video editing.
  • I’m looking for a luggable system for my multi-locational video editing.
  • Though currently I only edit 2D material, I’m interested in connecting to 3D, including to help my Dad.


  • One of the main negative arguments is that the graphic card can’t be upgraded. And graphic cards are now “evolving” rapidly.  On the other hand its the kind of product where youalmost  leave it shrink-wrapped, hopefully very eBay-able when the time comes.
  • It only has four cores.
    • From practical experience, I need 8 cores to complete certain kinds of (recurring) job in a reasonable time like overnight, so as not to hold-up projects another working-day.
  • It sounds like the GPU is not as powerful as I would like, e.g. for encoding video.

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Mac Pro: Even-Better GPU (But is too “Bleeding-Edge”?)

June 12th, 2012

I just saw a post on http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/forums/ShowMessage.asp?MessageID=806137&Replies=29 talking about the new Nvidia GTX 680 graphic card.  Much-desirable as it is in terms of graphics computing power, overall it seems too bleeding-edge for me, in terms of compatibility with my current hardware and some of my applications.

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Mac Pro: Better GPU (With Decent CUDA)

June 12th, 2012

I’m considering getting a decent CUDA  card for my existing Mac-based system.  Currently its GPU is a GeForce 8800 GT, having 112 CUDA cores and 512 MB RAM.  In contrast, for example, the Quadro 4000 has 256 cores, 2GB RAM, memory bandwidth just under 90GB/s.  Clock speeds are harder to compare in a meaningful way, there is processor clock speed and cores clock speeds, and of course we are dealing here with multicore.

From my research, it seems that:

  • The NVIDIA Quadro 4000 is compatible with a Mac (tower) both under Mac OS and Boot Camp Windows 7 64-bit (as well as some other versions I don’t care about).
  • It is possible to install more than one such card, doubling the number of cores, and benefitting dual-monitor-related performance if the two monitors are each connected to separate cards.

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Adobe Creative Cloud: More Thoughts

June 9th, 2012


  • http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/forums/ShowMessage.asp?MessageID=810421&Replies=26
    • {The following is a variety of viewpoints from various people.  I don’t necessarily agree with any of them but do regard them as useful thought-provokers. }
    • You “rent” the software, rather then first buying it, then continually paying for upgrades to new versions.
    • I’m gonig {going} with the non-cloud version of CS6 also. I don’t like the idea of an expiring software package, in the event that I don’t want to spend another $600 next year.
    • Alternatively, maybe Google and Microsoft will see this as an opportunity to offer some competition, because what I dislike even more than expiring software is having to keep up with files across ten different web sites. Someone needs to invent a “cloud drive” standard and then everyone needs to build their apps to function with any “cloud drive”.  Google is getting close with their new Google Drive and a selection of third party web apps that can use it for storage.
      • About the Google thing, remember that anything you put on the Google drive is owned by GOOGLE, and they can use it for anything at all that they see fit. Trusting Google with your work is insane.
        • Google says in its disclosure. “You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.”
        • Urban lagend {legend}, fear mongering. Google (and YouTube and Widows SkyDrive and Amazon Cloud) assumes a LICENSE to your work for the legal protection of being able to move and disperse it throughout their servers. And in the case of YouTube to change the format.
    • My own inclination would be to stick with the suite license. I have no faith that Adobe won’t just screw everything up.  … Another consideration. Some editors want their edit systems isolated from the internet. Cloud service won’t be so good if that’s what you want.
      • You don’t need to stay connected all the time. But if you’re not going to be connected maybe you don’t need the cloud service.
    • The one nice thing about Adobe’s Creative Cloud is that you can install both the Mac and Windows version for the same membership price. I have a Windows 7 desktop but a Mac OS X Lion laptop so this would benefit me. Of course, Adobe could have just been nice and allowed my desktop license to work on both platforms like other companies do but that’s another story
    • The turnoff for me … is the FORCED yearly upgrade. It says you can keep the version you lease for one year, then you must upgrade. Patches are installed by you (just like now), but your software license (appears) to expire a year after you initially get it.
    • …the cloud concept is not beneficial unless you like being beta test guinea pig.
    • …remember when all software was owned lock-stock and barrel by the hardware companies. (You couldn’t buy a computer, you had to lease it from the manufacturer). You paid an annual maintenance fee and the owner (DEC, IBM, etc) maintained the hardware and software.  In that scope, things haven’t changed much. We still pay an annual or biannual “fee” in the form of software upgrades. Personally I prefer the old “Rent the Software” model because if it didn’t work, you didn’t pay, and bugs got fixed really fast.

Adobe Creative Cloud – Expectations & Reality

June 6th, 2012

What is it?  Not the “ubiquitous computing” I first imagined.  Marginally handy in some ways, possibly more risky in others, e.g. if forget to exit on one machine (e.g. at work) then will it be accessible on another machine (e.g. at home or remote location)?  An in any case, how sustainable will it be?  My recent experience with Adobe CS Review makes me slightly wary…

What I expected was something more like the Kindle model, where I could install apps on as many devices as I wished, albeit with reduced functionality on weaker devices, and to have only one project open at a time, identically visible (apart from synch-delay) on all of those devices (maybe auto-branching where synch failed, with expectation of future manual pruning/re-synching).

Then there’s rendering – I’d expect that not to be counted as “usage”, instead usage should be actual user-interaction.  The technical model could be a thin client for user interface, sending commands to processing engines (wherever, even on another machine, e.g. to run a muti-core / CUDA desktop from ipad or iphone) and at the same time “approval requests” to Adobe Central, but with some degree of “benefit of the doubt” time-window so as not to delay responsiveness of the application.  They could then even respond to attempted beyond-licence actions with piecemeal license-extension options, e.g. “Provided you pay in next working day or two  for temporary additional subscription” option (defaulters get credit score reduced).  Why let inflexibility get in the way of capitalism?

Unfortunately, in the words of REM, “that was just a dream”.  Instead activation is restricted virtually to the same degree as the non-cloud variety, that is to two computers (main & backup or work & home etc).  The only extra freedom is that the two computers need not be the same operating system – e.g. can be mac and windows – a nuisance restriction of the traditional non-cloud model.  And rendering counts as usage.

It is possible to deactivate one of these computers and reactivate on another but if this happens “too frequently” then a call to Adobe’s support office is required.  It’s slightly more complicated in practice but that’s the essence of it.

Might give it a try though.  Like I said, it could be marginally handy, and marginal is better than nothing.

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Avid Symphony vs Media Composer (6)

June 5th, 2012

Having already Media Composer 6 (MC 6) and separately purchased Boris, I can see no point in upgrading to Symphony.  The only difference as far as I can tell is that unlike MC, it comes with BCC and it handles a Control Surface, which I do not have.  And I intend to dabble more in Da Vinci (Resolve).

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Adobe CS Review …No more it seems

June 4th, 2012

As a relatively new Adobe user, I was vaguely aware of an attractive-sounding Adobe Premiere collaboration feature, I think it was originally called Clip Notes (http://boardreader.com/thread/Clip_notes_alternative_for_CS5_other_tha_1yitjXfs3i.html confirms this), where one could send out reviews to people, who accessed it via Acrobat or as a pdf or something.  Having Adobe Production Premium CS5.5 I explored under Premiere’s File menu, discovering Create New Review.  I wish I had not, for it wasted several hours of scarce production time…  It seems that this feature has been discontinued, as announced at http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/cslive.html and complained about at http://forums.adobe.com/message/4266469.  The only reason I discovered this, following three hours of rendering by the Create New Review command and further one hour waiting for the Share Review website to complete (black screen with rotating wait-animation) was googling for acrobat.com login problems.

How come there wasn’t a simple website message to say “Discontinued”?  Furthermore, why not an Application Update to remove this feature from the File menu or change the menu action to state that this feature was discontinued?   Just as well I had not based a commercial workflow on this feature.  I feel somewhat Apple’d….

My alternative, until I find anything better, will be good-old-fashioned highly compressed renders with burnt-in timecode, shared bia DropBox.   I am also aware of Sorenson 360, it looks like it has a great set of features, but its cost is prohibitive for my current purposes.

One item I did manage to salvage from my “wasted time” was the render – that had taken 2.5 hours – that had been generated as part of the CS Review process.  It appeared in the folder [C:\Users\David\AppData\Local\Temp] with the pseudo-random probably-unique filename of [8D4E4C20-0C00-0F8A-A501-B6B7CA2E4883.f4v]. The [f4v] extension indicates it is an Adobe Flash container, most likely containing h264-encoded media.  I moved it to my own [Renders] folder for the given project and it played fine in VLC Media Player, which confirmed h264 was the codec and indicated it had resolution 960×540 i.e. half-size in terms of length, quarter-size in terms of area, bitrate was around 1Mbps.

Google Earth: Image Rights / Re-Use

June 1st, 2012


HDV Tape Capture on Old Laptop: Trim & Tweak

May 31st, 2012

I have an old 1-core Athlon laptop running XP and AVG AntiVirus.   I use it mainly for capturing from tape via a similarly-old HDV camcorder.  The tape contains Mpeg2 in Transport-Stream (TS) format, as recorded by the camera.  This capture takes place in real-time, with the tape, via FireWire (FW).  The capture process must not be interrupted – otherwise packets will be lost.  Losing packets is a nuisance rather than a show-stopper, presumably a benefit of the TS format, the only consequence is lost frames (unsure whether that affects overall duration or whether blank frames are substituted for lost ones).

To minimise chance of lost packets, I reduce as many possibilities of delay and interference as I can think of. The machine is disconnected from network (and WiFi is disabled).  For storage target, I attach a GRaid two-disk storage device, necessarily via USB2 (the machine only has one FW port, and that is used for the camera).  Additionally I Exit/Quit/Suspend a number of processes.  Firstly all relevant icons in the System Tray.  Secondly via application-specific Control Panels:

  • AVG AntiVirus: Disable elements via AVG Uder-Interface:
    • Shield
    • Identity Protection
  • Java
    • QuickStarter: Disable via Java applet in Control Panel
  • HDV Tape-Capture App (HDVSplit)
    • Change its priority from the default of “High” to “RealTime”.
      • {Uncertain if this is advisable, but the tape in reality is definitely real-time!  Anyhow, overall it worked OK}

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Mac OS: Boot Camp: Windows Upgrade: The Experience

May 18th, 2012

Steps Taken:

  • Old Experimental Disk > Boot Camp
    • Identified existing version as 2.1 (that came with Mac OS Leopard).
    • Discovered I needed it to be Version >3.1 to handle Windows 7.
      • Attempted to update it automatically, via existing-installed Mac and Windows (XP), but neither worked.
  • Cloned Current Mac OS > Snow Leopard system to experimental disk, over-writing (only) the existing Mac OS installation there.
    • Used SuperDuper in free (gratuite) mode.
  • On clone, updated relevant software:
    • Mac OS > Boot Camp Assistant
      • Download Windows Support Software.
        • I assued that would give me the latest version…
        • But Boot Camp failed to update – it said “The Windows support software is not available”
        • Wasted time retrying a few times…
        • Discussion at https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2793568?start=0&tstart=0 indicated this was a known issue, and the work-around was to go for the second option, “I have the Mac OS S installation disk”.
      • Located Mac Pro (desktop) install-disk for Snow Leopard (it was in a thin cardboard box, along with iLife etc).

Cloning Mac OS to Another Volume (eg hard disk)

May 18th, 2012


Upgrade Mac Boot Camp XP to Windows 7 64-bit

May 18th, 2012


  • http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/running-windows-anything-else-your-mac/179571-upgrade-windows-7-without-going-through-bootcamp-again.html
    • ID:
      • Updating Boot Camp and installing Windows 7 on your Mac
      • by Topher Kessler  January 20, 2010
    • Best to install drivers first:
      • Boot Camp Software Update 3.1 64-bit: The full Boot Camp driver package for 64-bit versions of Windows, including Windows 7.
      • Boot Camp Software Update 3.1 32-bit: The full Boot Camp driver package for 32-bit versions of Windows, including Windows 7.
      • Graphics Firmware Update 1.0: This provides graphics updates for iMacs and MacPros with Geforce 7300GT, 7600GT, and Quadro FX4500 graphics processors. It is only required if you are installing Windows 7.
      • {BUT are they not included as standard nowadays (2012) with latest version of Boot Camp ? }
    • http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/running-windows-anything-else-your-mac/179571-upgrade-windows-7-without-going-through-bootcamp-again.htm
      • ID:
        • upgrade to Windows 7 without going through bootcamp again?
        • Question by “brockga”, Feb. 2009
      • “should be” no need to destroy & re-create existing Boot Camp partition, just install W7 over the top of it.
      • Further advantage of this method: W7 “Custom Install” option able to save existing Documents
        • << The Windows 7 install process will then copy all of your data in “My Documents” over to a Windows.old folder within Windows 7 itself. All applications and documents stored in other locations will have to be reinstalled / transferred manually. >>
        • x
    • http://forums.macworld.com/index.php?/topic/139815-successful-setup-os-x-lion-bootcamp-win7-data-partition/
      • ID:
        • Successful setup: OS X Lion + Bootcamp Win7 + Data Partition
        • ernopena_nyc, 28 August 2011
      • The key to this working is creating your extra partitions AFTER you make the Bootcamp partition but BEFORE you install Windows. And once Windows is installed, you CAN NOT shrink, resize, delete, create, or modify any partition.
      • <<<
        • I have my internal 500GB hard drive partitioned the following way:
          • 120GB OS X Lion (system and apps)
          • 316GB workspace partition (user files, projects)
          • 64GB Bootcamp Windows 7 Ultimate
        • To make this work, I started with the standard procedure of installing OS X Lion on a single Mac OS Ext partition and using Bootcamp Assistant to build the Bootcamp partition for Windows.  Then I did 2 key things:
          • 1. Before installing Windows on the Bootcamp partition, I first went back to Disk Utility, shrunk the OS X Lion partition, and inserted a 3rd partition Workspace_HD for all my user files. Then I restarted and installed Windows 7.
          • 2. After Win 7 Ultimate, the Bootcamp drivers and Office 2010 were installed and activated, I DID NOT make any changes to any partitions. I can put whatever I want on any partition, but I CAN NOT shrink, resize, delete, create, or modify any partition. Any change to the partition tables after Windows is installed will BREAK the Bootcamp partition.
        • I went thru 3 broken installs of Bootcamp/Win7 to figure this out
      • >>>
    • http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/windows-7-on-a-mac-my-boot-camp-survival-guide/3446
      • Miscellaneous related tips and discussions…

Adobe Premiere / DaVinci Resolve: Timeline-Exchange

May 2nd, 2012

Is it possible to edit a timeline on Premiere, send it to Resolve, as a project/timeline structure rather than as a rendered intermediate file, color-correct in resolve then return (again at project/timeline level) to Premiere (say)?   From a brief web-search, it looks like the answer is “yes”.


UNVEIL: De-Reverberation And Signal Focusing Processor

April 30th, 2012
  • http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/forums/ShowMessage.asp?ForumID=4&MessageID=808171
    •  <<<
      UNVEIL is a real-time, de-mixing based plug-in that allows attenuating or boosting reverb components within a mixed signal of any channel count, including mono sources, as well as modifying contained reverb characteristics. Additionally, UNVEIL allows bringing the key features of a recording into focus, or moving them to the background, by attenuating or boosting perceptionally less important signal components.

      UNVEIL as well as a free trial will be available from the Zynaptiq website Monday, March 26th.

      UNVEIL comes as Mac AU (AudioUnits) Plug-In, with VST and AAX support for both Mac and Windows platforms planned for later in 2012.

Adobe CS6 – “What’s New” Videos

April 14th, 2012