Posts Tagged ‘oliver peters


new mac pro = bleh (?)

I would sit here typing my own opinion on the new Mac Pro lineup but why bother when I can simply plagiarize, err quote, Nat Jencks’ FCP-L post:

I agree that it’s a bit of a dissapointment, but the thing is, that to integrate high quality usb3, esata, SAS, Bluray, HDMI, would bump the price significantly. Typically when this stuff is built into the motherboard it’s a fairly low quality component.

The beauty of a tower is that you have the ability to add these on as cards without paying for what you don’t want.

That said, I agree, a disappointment. Apple’s benchmarks showing ~1.3 speed increase from the last generation are underwhelming given that its been a year and a half.
I think these machines are an afterthought for apple at this point. i’ve noticed that apple has removed the towers from most marketing pictures that show their lineup. Apple has started to frequently refer to itself as a “portable computing company”… I think that its clear to apple that there’s not much innovation to be to done in this sector, and the hardware is essentially the same that you would get from any manufacturer.

Also a bit frustrating that Apple is continuing to push ATI GPUs.

For better or worse, almost all the high end applications that heavily lean on the GPU seem to be optimized for Nvidea Quadro’s, and use Nvidea’s CUDA architecture. It seems like there is some politics going on there, as Apple is pushing it’s “OpenCL” standard. The end result of all this seems to be that Apple likes ATI, and works with them to create good drivers for the ATI cards, but most developers are developing for the Nvidea cards, but the drivers are comparitively poor compared to their windows couterparts.

Blech. The whole situation is a FAIL for the user.
Here’s hoping that developers start optimizing for the ATI cards, or that Nvidea starts prioritizing their mac drivers.

Well put Mr. Jencks.  From the comfort of my  Final Cut Studio & Adobe Creative Suite Production Premium centric edit suite, I’m still quite happy with my current Mac Pro and don’t see a compelling reason to upgrade. 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 12GB RAM and an ATI Radeon HD 3870 running Final Cut Studio 2 (FCP 6.06) and Adobe Production Premium CS4 is all I need to keep cranking out 720p YouTube videos.  Throw in a Kona 3 and a monitor of your choice for broadcast work and you’re set for the next however long.

The only feature request I have for Apple at this point is update FCP to allow for real time playback of H264 files from my 5dmarkii.  Seriously, that’s it.  And by-the-by, has anyone considered the fact that Apple’s minimal update with FCS3, which many also considered to be underwhelming, was actually a favor to the small production house business owners?  In this economy Apple hasn’t unleashed a beast that everyone has to buy.  Instead we get to keep racking up the profit margin on already paid for hardware and software.

proactively • thank you Mr. Jobs • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.


Brook Willard has written the post EVERYONE is reading and talking about.  Read this snippet for a glimpse of the awesome and click thru for the full, thorough read:

Brook Willard in his own words

***UPDATE 2***

Thanks to Oliver Peters’ kind words and linkage on the FCP-L, I felt compelled to put a few more thoughts out into the blogo-listserv-er-sphere:

Oliver, thank you for your kind words. I just finished reading Brook’s post and it is extremely thorough and well thought out. The history he walks us through does a lot to support his perspective. I can only hope the right eyes read what he said about the importance rally car racing has for Subaru, that NASCAR has for Ford, etc. The last thing Apple needs to do for the long run is “strap a V12 to a Yugo.”

For the post production needs of my employer and of many shops in the DC market FCP 6 on a year old Mac Pro with sufficient RAM and GPU to cut 3 or 4 streams of 1920×1080 ProRes in real time is totally acceptable. Ethernet based SANs have come a long way so we don’t even need to use FW800 except for transferring footage to and from Rugged LaCie’s or logging and transferring P2 media. I think we are all familiar with the multitude of shows making it to broadcast on Discovery, Travel Channel, History, etc based on workflows as dated as this.

My only requested upgrade from Apple at this point is software based: real time playback of H264 footage in FCP’s timeline. That would help make the next 6 months of my life easier with all the Canon 5D Mark II footage I’ll be working with (and I’m sure a lot of other people out there too).

At some point I do want to see the hardware / software FCP Extreme or Phenomenon that’s been rumored forever. While I was trained on Avid I grew into my own with Final Cut Pro and I’m much happier doing more complex editing, compositing and grading in the Studio suite of applications. With almost 10 years of FCP editing experience, growing again with one app to rule them all driven by a Volkswagen R32 would be awesome. Stick shift please.


fcp canon eos plugin vs. compressor vs. mb grinder

From where I stand, there are three methods to get your 5dmarkii h264 footage transcoded to ProRes for editing in FCP.  I’ll just say up fron that if the only update Apple makes for FCP 7 is native playback of h264 files then all the attention Adobe Premiere and Avid Media Craposer are getting would be immediately rendered moot.  But I digress.

Click on the above image for an explanation or click here to download.  The EOS plugin enables FCP to recognize a compact flash card with 5dmarkii footage as a mountable volume that shows up in the Log & Transfer window.  From there, you can transcode your native footage to the ProRes flavor of your choice.

The above is a nifty walkthru video showing how to setup a quick cluster in Apple Compressor.  If you have a laptop and just two cores this is no big deal, but if you have 4 or more cores this can really help things along.  And it’s how I’m currently converting my footage from this weekend as I write this post.

I haven’t used Magic Bullet Grinder but Scott Simmons and Oliver Peters have, so check out their reviews for more info.  The appeal to me and my friend James is that it appears that it would just work, unlike quick clusters in Compressor which can, at times, be wonky.

proactively • just make h264 play back natively in FCP please • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.


the foundry fixing rolling shutter

No matter how much you research a camera, there is no substitution for forking over several thousand dollars, unboxing and holding it in your hands, shooting with it, converting the footage to ProRes and then looking at the wobbly vertical lines and going WHAT THE HECK?!  And if wobbly vertical lines and WHAT THE HECK aren’t descriptive enough for you, let’s get a neat and tidy explanation from Oliver Peters over at digitalfilms:

Rolling shutter artifacts – the so-called “jello-o-cam” effect – have been the bane of CMOS-sensor cameras, most notably the HD-capable DSLR still cameras. The short answer for why this happens is that objects move in place during the time interval between the data being picked up from the top to the bottom of the sensor. The visual manifestation is skewing or a wobble to the image on fast horizontal motion or shaky handheld shots. CoreMelt’s Lock & Load X is designed to be used for both standard image stabilization, as well as reduction of these artifacts.

CoreMelt Lock & Load X

If you continue reading Oliver’s post, he has a very nice write up of CoreMelt Lock and Load X.

The Foundry RollingShutter

Yet there is a link to The Foundry’s RollingShutter plug-in for Nuke and After Effects a bit down the page, and this is what I’ve found to be the nearest thing to magic I’ve seen in some time.

Yes, it’s 500 bucks.  Yes, you need to have After Effects (who has Nuke outside of an FXPHD VPN license?). Yes, it takes a loooong time to render.  But it doesn’t zoom in on your image to correct for rolling shutter like Lock & Load X does.  If I’m doing something wrong, please someone let me know because I would love to not spend 500 bucks; however, the zooming in is a deal breaker for me.  Regardless, RollingShutter does and amazing job!  And there is a free 15-day fully functional trial which you can download here.  Here’s the settings to use according to The Foundry’s website:

Whilst we’ve been using this tool in house here, we’ve found that the following are good correction amounts for some of the cameras we’ve been shooting with:

  • RED One: 0.32
  • Canon 5DmkII: 0.56

So while I haven’t bought it yet I am playing around with the free trial.  And so far, looks like this will take the place of a new lens.

proactively • local motion estimating • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.


rumorama – apple dumbing down final cut studio apps?

Hot off the AppleInsider presses, Prince McClean writes:

Apple’s Final Cut Studio suite of video post production apps is getting a significant makeover to better target the software to the mainstream of Apple’s customer base rather than high end professionals.

To quote Robin Kurz on the FCP-L:

Oh puuuh-leeeeeeze….

Basically, this article gets legs when it cites two new positions at Apple:

Senior Visual Interface Designer for Pro Apps

Senior Human Interface Designer for Pro Apps

It seems to me these rumors circulate along with product life cycles.  I remember when a high ranking engineer at Discovery passed me in the hallway back in 2007 and said something like ‘Avid is going to sue Apple over ProRes because Steve Bayes stole the code for DNxHD.  It’s going to force Apple to revoke ProRes from FCS 2 and render it useless.‘  Bleh.  This kind of stuff is marketing propaganda, corporate warfare, blatant entrenched hatred, what have you.

Apple Final Cut Studio 3

I can understand that a lot of us were hoping for more from FCS 3, something along the lines of the Phenomenon rumors and rants.

Adobe Production Premium CS5 for Mac

I know that Adobe has my full attention with CS5 Production Premium, specifically new features like After Effects’ Roto Brush and Photoshop’s Content Aware Fillimproved selecting and masking, and HDR de-ghosting.  I must say the Adobe TV partnership with is very common-sense innovational.  I’d definitely like to see Apple provide an equally broad and detailed approach to offer their users free software training.  But, I digress.

If anything, I’m looking forward to continued innovation and market-shaping, value added features from Apple for upcoming releases of Final Cut Studio.  Just like when they brought us HD.  Just like when they created the Final Cut Studio suite.  Just like when they gave us ProRes and Color.  Just like when they will do the next thing that blows the top off of everybody else.

proactively • looking forward, still • peter


Philp Hodgetts has a great write up on this same article here.

***UPDATE 2***

Oliver Peters just posted a solidly informative review of Premiere Pro CS5 to the FCP-L:

I’m not so sure I would characterize FCP as “having been left in the dust” by Avid and Adobe. I’ve done some pretty decent testing with Premiere Pro CS5 on both the high-end FX4800 and my stock GeForce 120 cards. I run Avid MC 4 as well.

PrProCS5 is definitely better than PrProCS4, but if you are working with most DVCPROHD, uncompressed, or ProRes, the experience is pretty comparable between FCP and CS5. On the other hand, even MC4 with DNxHD is more responsive than either app and these media types. If you run native AVC-Intra 100, CS5 is very slick and as fluid as anything I’ve seen. It’s also very nice with H264 or RED, but I still wouldn’t want to cut natively with either. Yes, you can do native RED raw 4K editing, but so what. You’re not going to cut a feature this way.

The core editing functionality is still largely the same, so if you liked Premiere Pro CS4 you’ll love CS5. If you hated it, then the 64-bit performance won’t have you jumping ship. It’s not just a matter of the Mercury Playback (CUDA) optimization or 64-bit operation. Performance also gets down to other factors: CPU power, RAM and hard drive speed.

– Oliver

***UPDATE 3***

In an official end to the madness, CNET just poted this quote from Apple:

“Final Cut Pro is the first choice for professional video editors, and we’ve never been more excited about its future,” Apple spokesman Bill Evans told CNET. “The next version of Final Cut is going to be awesome, and our pro customers are going to love it.”

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.


FinalCutters rig of the day!

yours truly

For posterity, a quick screen grab of me being featured on as the rig of the day.  This was 3 (?) years ago when we were first building out Tavel Channel’s Short Form Production department in a broom closet at Discovery Headquarters.  Oh, the memories…

Also note the linkage to my panavision genesis fcp workflow post.  I’ve found FinalCutters to be a great resource for, well, good FCP bloggery.  Take a visit over there and definitely check out Oliver Peters’ The Final Cut Studio centric facility.  Not linking to it here silly, go to FinalCutters and then click through.

proactively  • peter


redrelay – awesome red footage resource


Just found RedRelay while reading Stu Maschwitz’ latest ProLost post talking about the subway short trend. RedRelay looks to be a great resource for getting your hands on RED footage to cut & grade.

All the comprehensive info describing how each clip was shot makes this site a great learning resource as well. You can download RED footage, iPhone versions of the clips, tiffs, and even follow a hotlink to the related reduser thread. Awesome.


Now go download some RED footage and put that Color 1.0.3 update to use.

proactively • loving this site • peter


To do that grading in Color, you will of course need to get the RED FCS2 Installer…


…and the RED Quicktime Codec.


Oliver Peters posts to the FCP-L:

The new RED FCS2 Installer at includes a workflow white paper. This new installer adds some native functionality when working with .R3D files in FCP and Color. You must have done the most recent ProApps update before installing the new RED components. Even if you don’t actually run the RED installer, it’s worthwhile to download the archive file and review this PDF white paper.

And here’s a sneak peek of the white paper for your enjoyment:



apple color – control surface consideration

Starting to research control surfaces to use with Color in the finishing suite. So far, the three setups in consideration are, in no particular order:
Option 1: JL Cooper Eclipse CX

JLCooper ECLIPSE CX Integrated Colorist Command Station

Option 2: JL Cooper MCS-Spectrum

JLCooper MCS-Spectrum Colorist Control Station

The MCS-Spectrum additionally requires the JL Cooper MCS-3000 Media Command Station W/ No Faders

JLCooper MCS-3000 - Media Command Station Main Console Without Faders

Option 3: Tangent Devices CP200-K, available in black or silver

Tangent Devices CP200-BK Trackbal/Knob Grading Panel

And visiting Tangent’s site I’m reminded of the Wave which I blogged about some months ago when it debuted at NAB

Tangent Devices Wave Panel

There’s a review of the Wave at here and a review by Scott Simmons here.

Lastly but not leastly, there’s the Euphonix MC Color which I’ve blogged about here.

Euphonix MC Color - Color Grading Control Surface

Scott Simmons has a blog review of it here and Oliver Peters has a review of the entire Euphonix Artist series here.  All of these panels are available at B&H.

So right now I’m leaning towards the simplicity and elegance of the Tangent Devices CP200-K. But if cost is a factor (and when is it not if you’re spending your own money), take a close look at the Tangent Devices Wave and the Euphonix MC Color.

And if you’re looking for some good colorist literature, be sure to check out Steve Hullfish’s book The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction.

proactively • stepping up to the next level • peter

September 2020

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