Archive for November, 2010


blog scoop – chris from tangent devices discusses vwave-lite for ipad

Chris Rose from Tangent Devices reached out to me after reading the blog post from earlier this week, saying he wanted to share a few things about his company’s release of vWave-Lite for iPad.  So I told him to email me or give me a call;  a few minutes later I’ve got a new number on my cell and it’s Chris on the other end.  We had a conversation for a little over twenty minutes in which he gave me some insight into Tangent Devices’ development and release of the vWave-Lite for iPad as well as some details of Tangent Devices future plans for developing touch screen apps for the iPad.  From my (somewhat sloppy) notes:

First and foremost, Chris wanted to speak to Tangent Design’s intentions for developing and releasing vWave-Lite in the manner that it did.  The app was released at IBC and was “pure experimentation and gimmick” meant to gain some eyeballs and generate buzz.  If they had released it as a $1.99 download, Chris (half?) jokingly shared with me they could have all retired by now.  While Tangent Devices made the final decision to release the app for free including the easily recognizable ring interface, there had been discussions to design an area above the rings (a slider area or something akin to it) that would help users avoid making consistent visual references to the iPad while grading.  Chris said the main reason for this decision was that there was a bit of development time lost to Apple’s iTunes approval process.  So instead of adding any additional UI considerations, Tangent Devices simply released the vWave-Lite with the recognizable rings UI so it would be ready for IBC.

Chris made a point to emphasize that, for himself and Tangent Devices as a company, “tactile response is the most important thing” about their products.  He shared with me that he and fellow founding member Andy Knox both have backgrounds in human interface design.  Before founding Tangent Devices, they worked together for British Aerospace (BAE) with a focus on cockpit design.  In Chris’s own words:

After serving time with BAE both Andy and myself went on to work for Pandora where we spent quite a few years. I was a trainee undergraduate at BAE whilst Andy had already been there for sometime. I left to finish my degree and Andy left to take up a job with Pandora. When I graduated Andy gave me a call and said Pandora were looking for a software engineer. Hence the reason I ended up there too.
Pandora were a great company to work for with a fantastic team of engineers headed up by Steve Brett and Martin Greenwood. I was a good introduction to the whacky world if colour correction and telecine transfer
I left Pandora before Andy to look for a new challenge and found work still within the industry working for a small electronics company. Andy left sometime after to do contract work. We had both kept in touch and after a few meetings and a few beers we realised that we had our own ideas for a telecine controller. We also had one eye on the future knowing that the traditional telecine and hardware based colour correction days were limited.
The rest, as they say is history

Point being, both Chris and Andy are very aware of “what people do and don’t like doing.” I like the idea of considering colorists akin to pilots, the budgets for what we’re grading plus dedicated equipment can certainly be similar to what a pilot is responsible for.  OK, maybe not too similar but I digress.  Essentially, Chris said that a lack of tactile response poses an interesting challenge for developing touch screen applications intended to enhance the color grading experience.

Moving forward, Tangent Device’s future versions of the vWave app for iPad will be intended for use as an auxillary panel for their existing product line.  This is not to be confused with a full blown touchscreen panel grading solution.  The idea is to extend the current Wave and CP200 mapping capabilities to a future vWave app, possibly utilizing a combination of sliders, buttons and trackballs in its touchscreen UI.  However, Chris went on to point out that some of these features can be gimmicky and not practical for human interfacing on a touchscreen; one can only rotate their fingers so far before it becomes uncomfortable, sliders and buttons require a visual reference, etc.

I felt this discussion begged the question of implementing gesture commands, which at first I though Chris would simply write off when he said they had considered this but just “weren’t sure how far down the road [to take gesture implementation].”  There could be a lot of gestures for a user to have to memorize and color grading with a control panel is already a somewhat complex task  To my surprise, he then went on to list quite a few combinations of gestures that might be implemented such as 1-finger vs. 2-finger vs. 3-finger dragging, finger flicking for continual motion, finger rotation, and possibly a couple others that I missed with hasty note taking.  I interpreted this to mean while Tangent Devices may not have gone too far down the road with gestures in vWave-Lite, by no means do they consider this road a dead end.

Chris further impressed upon me his reason for reaching out is to tell his story of why Tangent Designs brought the vWave to market and what people could expect in the coming months.  As for the why, they wanted to produce an eye catching and gimmicky app for IBC.  As for what the future holds, Chris said that sometime next year folks can look forward to a fully mappable iPad app based on current Wave and CP200 software.  Again, this would be intended as an auxiliary interface for two types of colorists: extra knobs for the colorist to use in tandem with their existing control panel or 2) better than nothing for the freelance colorist to use in tandem with a mouse-only client setup (which has been my main experience as a colorist for hire).  At the end of the day, Chris realized that this would all come down to an issue of taste for the operator, maintaining that it is easier to use a 2-dimensional control like a track ball than a 1-dimensional control like the iPad.

So, what’s the price point going to be (I had to ask), to which Chris chuckled and said this bit is actually the most difficult part in designing this product.  He really had no idea what to charge for it; on one hand he would want the purchase to be a no brainer decision for colorists.  On the other hand, Tangent Devices would need to be able to recoup the costs of bringing on additional staff to develop it.  So this is the part of the scoop that I pose to you readers out there: what would you pay for a full blown vWave iPad app that’s fully mappable?

I’ll start off with my pricing scenario: considering the Tangent Devices Wave Panel costs 1,495.00 and an iPad costs say $600 with tax, I would think that this app would necessarily be priced somewhere in the not free to $900 range (900 bucks being the difference in price of a Wave Panel – iPad).  If the cost of an iPad + app is not significantly less the cost of a Wave Panel, why not just by a Wave Panel and call it a day.  Conversely, if you’re already working with a CP200 panel setup and you already own an iPad, would you really want to plunk down the combined equivalent of a Wave Panel just to have some handy mappable functions to flick at in your lap?

Enough from me, let’s hear what you guys think.

proactively • scooped • peter


color control panel for the ipad

Steve Hullfish and Bob Sliga blasted the FCP-L and ColorList with announcements about the new Tangent Devices vWave-Lite, a new solution to somewhat control Apple Color using your iPad.  Mr. Hullfish even posted a video of this slick new app

According to Tangent Devices website,

And while I agree with the general “Cool!” consensus out there, and while I realize it is amazing that Tangent Devices is putting this out there for FREE, I’m not sold on this approach as a viable solution for color grading because of the lack of tactile feedback from the iPad.  But Mel Matsuoka beat me to the punch, posting a nicely articulated review late last night to the FCP-L:

vWave is definitely fun and cool for what it is. I myself am hoping that they bring a “soft” version of the CP200-S and K panels to the iPad, so I can use it along my existing CP200-TS/BK panels. I cant justify another $10,000 just to get additional knobs and buttons that I wish the TS/BK panels had. Having a virtual button/knob control surface that can be mapped to every Apple Color function (and even more necessary, Davinci Resolve) would be a godsend. I wont hold my breath for this to happen, though 😉

That said, I think having a literal representation of a real world control surface on an iPad is a mistake, and not as useful as some are making it out to be. It’s cute and pretty to see the joyball and rings on the touchscreen, but the whole point of using a hardware control-surface is that you don’t have to look down at your controls while grading. And without a tactile control for your fingers to grab onto–especially in the case of the rings–you are flying half-blind on something like the vWave, because you cant tell if your finger is touching the ball widget or the ring widget onscreen. And the moment your eyes look down to find out which is which, you’ve defeated the very purpose of having a control-surface in the first place.

If I had the ability to design my own touch interface for a colorgrading control surface, it wouldn’t have balls and knobs like the vWave. it would simply be divided into 3 vertical columns, and be mapped so that any touch input that happens in the upper 2/3 of each column would affect the color-offsets, and any input that happened in the lower 1/3 would affect the lift/gamma/gain offsets.

This way, you could use your thumbs to affect the lift/gamma/gain, and your fingers to control the color offsets, and never have to look down to see if you’re touching the right control. And your hands would be positioned in a much more natural way, as well (which would could possibly be an improvement over a physical control-surface)

This is an excellent article discussing the folly of “shoehorning” real world UIs into a digital world, which I think applies here as well:

Interestingly enough, Aaron uses the example of an iPhone rotary-phone dialer app as an example of misguided “real world” touch-interface design.

I’ll let your own Googling inclinations veer you off topic and into the land of realistic UI design.  Back here at pro•active•ly, it comes down to the point that you are paying for knobs and tactile feedback when you invest in a control panel.  A device that comes short of providing these two key components isn’t serving you any better than mousing through Color.

proactively • it is cool though • peter


you’ve got president barack obama

Playing today on AOL’s homepage.  5dmarkii with the 24-70mm f/2.8L, graded with Apple Color.

proactively • participating in the democratic process • peter

November 2010

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