Adobe Speedgrade and LUTs

I recently started getting into Adobe Speedgrade since we’re using Adobe Premiere Pro for editing.  The Adobe suite really has a nice family of programs to allow you to edit, color grade, sound mix, and VFX all within the same suite. The round trip function between for example Premiere Pro and Speedgrade is really sweet and easy to use.

So I wanted to create some custom LUTs to load into our Sony FS7.  I started playing around with this and after a few attempts of not being able to load the LUTs into the camera I realized there is a compatibility problem between Speedgrade and the Sony F5,F55 and FS7 cameras.

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The exported LUTs from Speedgrade are in a  32x32x32 .cube format and the Sony cameras will only accept the 33x33x33 .cube luts, being exported from other apps such as Davinci Resolve.  Of course I could use resolve but i’d like to be able to do it within speed grade since we use the adobe suite for the rest of our stuff.

I pushed an email to my contact at adobe and he was not aware of this but would check and get back to me with some news, hopefully soon… In the meanwhile I’m looking at ways of converting the 32x LUT into a 33x LUT.  I’ll post updates.

MXF support for QuickTime

Searching to install Apple codecs on a new machine I came across this on Apple support. After the death of Final Cut Pro I did NOT see this coming. Apple has added support for .MXF (Media Exchange Format) to QuickTime. No more transcode inside Final Cut. This is also possibly really great news for people still using Final Cut Pro studio (not X) , since it adds native support for MXF import editing etc to QuickTime. How nice to side step transcode if you’re working with anything other than ProRes, such as XAVC for example.
Will try and test this out on a Mac with Final Cut Studio and post back.

The support was released just before Christmas and you can find it here.

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New Macbook Pro / Premiere Pro issue?

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Two days ago I got a second Macbook Pro, the new one released a few days ago. (1 Aug 2014)  I tried to connect it, for video output, to the Black Magic design Ultrastudio Mini Monitor.

All I got as an output was a green screen with lots of digital breakup. I tried everything, earlier version of drivers, unistall, install etc etc and finally found the reason.  If I turned OFF Open CL, and worked software only inside Premiere Pro it output video correctly.  The new Macbook Pro (mid 21014) in question uses an Intel Iris Pro graphics card and there seems to be a conflict of some sort.

Adobe, Sweden is on the case and will report back soon hopefully.
!!!UPDATE!!! As I am writing this post Adobe gets back to me saying this is a known issue affecting all video output using Intel Iris Pro. Adobe and Intel as actively searching for a solution!

 

Turn OFF open CL to have Ultrastudio Mini Monitor working in Premiere Pro on New MackBook Pro.
Turn OFF open CL to have Ultrastudio Mini Monitor working in Premiere Pro on New MackBook Pro.

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Looking at FCPX

This week I spent 2 days trying to get an idea of what Final Cut Pro X has to offer.  The workshop, went through the entire program workflow from import to export.

First a short background… 🙂
I started video editing on tape a long time ago. Everything was linear and planning your edit was essential.  Nowadays you start wherever you want and just move things around. Both good and bad in that regard.  Since I moved to non linear editing in 1997 I have edited Premiere, Avid, Liquid, Final Cut Pro.  In 2008 we switched from Avid to Final Cut studio 6.0 and I was very happy with this, until Final Cut X was released in 2011.  I downloaded FCPX the day it was released and left it in anger 2 days later.   It missed a load of professional features and there was no longer a visual timeline with audio in one place and video in another.  Very frustrating and we decided to move to Adobe Premiere Pro where we are today.  I am very happy with PP and have no real intention of leaving it but I still wanted to explore what the new 10.1 Final Cut X had to offer…..

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Granted I didn’t give it more than a couple of days last time I tried back in 2011.  FCPX is a new way of thinking. Everything is combined, to be easily moved around with our loosing sync.  It takes a little bit of thinking to get used to the idea but moving clips from one place to another is a breeze no sync is lost.

There are loads of effects and presets from color effects, looks and audio filters. Most are user definable enabling you to start with a look and tweak it to your liking. Everything is real time and you can preview an effect without even adding it to your clip simply hover over the effect.  Background rendering is great and you never know its happening. Keywords and media management is also nice but will require you to add all that information to make it useful.  The program seems to accept anything you throw at it (codec wise), and in default wanting to transcode everything into ProRes, which I found was not necessary on my new MacBook Pro Retina.

So why am I not switching to FCX right now.  I am an old dog and I don’t like new tricks. 😉   I want to have separate tracks for my audio (I know you can detach audio in FCPX but its not the same) simply to keep things organized and have a  better overview.  I think audio handing is complicated in FCPX as opposed to Premiere Pro or the old Final Cut.   I want to be able to add, with one shortcut key, an audio mix between 2 clips, not jump through hoops detaching audio or expand audio or making a storyline to do what I want with clips.  I am used to having a very organized timeline where everything like interview audio and nat sound to music always goes in the same place or track on the timeline.  That way its very easy to have a clear view of whats going on. With FCPX i feel like I have to search to finds things.  Time and more editing with FCPX would of course change this…

The comparison to iMovie on steroids somewhat applies still I think. Yes it accepts almost every format from Red to H264 in HD or 4K and when you’re done you can grade your material and audio mix it elsewhere, but there is still something missing in my opinion. Your milage may vary…

Give it a try and see what You think, after all it a fully functional editing software costing a mere $300.

I may have to eat my words in the future, and perhaps this is where editing is moving to, but for now I like the good ol timeline with separate tracks and easy handling.  If you are new to video editing and don’t have all the “presets” in your head of how you want things this may be a great option for you.

external SSD Storage for my laptop

I’ve been looking at the thunderbolt drive and been wanting to get a 500GB  SSD solution. The Lacie Little big disk is nice but roughly 6750 SEK (700 USD) and your stuck with the disk you have in there and you need a power supply.

I’ve also been wanting to view and edit footage directly from an SSD connected to our Pix240.  For this you could use the Pix Caddy but your only connection there is USB3 or Firewire 800 and I’d like to use the fast moving thunderbolt, especially when transferring footage.

After some research on the net I found the Seagate GoFlex Adapter. Its made to take the Seagate cartridges but will function with any SATA connection since the connector is in the open.  You can easily switch drives and it powers the SSD directly via thunderbolt.  A small portable, very fast package.

The Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter is available online for $99 and cost 1050 SEK here in Sweden.  Buy any SSD SATA disk plug it in and off you go.  There is a small gap underneath the disk which I filled with a folded paper and a plastic sheet I cut from an old XDCam case… 🙂  Not pretty perhaps but it keeps the drive in there very solidly.

Of course this is not as rugged a solution as the Lacie Little Big disc (or other portable drive solutions), I realize this.  But it will allow me to easily switch out a library of different SSD drives, transfer footage at blazing speeds and all in a portable small package.  Just what I wanted.

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Open drive connector and wedge to keep the disk in place.

I went ahead and bought the Samsung 850 EVO, 500GB.

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Connected to my MacBook Pro via thunderbolt

 

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Here is the speedtest I ran with the external Samsung 840 Evo, 500GB disk. 🙂

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Disclaimer:  Please check compatibility of disk before purchase.  I leave no guarantee it will work as easily as it did for me.  Please don’t blame me if something goes wrong.

Importing XDcam optical disc

Today I tried a couple of different methods of importing XDCam HD422 into Premiere Pro CC directly from the PDW-700 camera.  The latest firmware 1.83 on the camera and latest available version on all software. I used the same optical disc for all software, a dual layer disc filled with 13GB of data, 36 clips.

Method 1:  The great, very simple to use, free XDCam Transfer.  It has been rock solid  for so long and I’ve installed it on so many producer’s laptops I’ve lost count.  It took 25 seconds to add disc and get all thumbnails pictures!  Full timecode display and option of audio channels to import and sub clip choice.

Method 2:  The new Sony Content browser 2.2.  This is the new all in one media importer set to replace XDcam transfer ( as well as EX clipBrowser, PDZ-1, PDZ-VX10) in importing MpegHD as well as handling all Sony formats from SD to XAVC 2k and QFHD.
It was very slow and took 1 minute just to add 10 empty clip boxes without thumbnail pictures. It took 4 min 15 sec!!!  to get the 36 thumbnail with pictures to show up.  Why its so slow I have no idea, especially compared to the already exitsting XDCam Transfer.  I will check this with Sony and post back.

Method 3:  Adobe Prelude.  Couldn’t get it to work. Crashed 4 times.

Sooooo. My test ended early I saw no reason to import the footage.  I tried 1 clip with the Content browser which seems about as fast as I know the XDCam transfer to be.  But waiting 4+ minutes to get 36 thumbnails to show up is a no go for me.  Imagine a full 50GB disc with 130 clips on it…

Also I am perplexed as to why Sony is charging €16 to buy a license.  I agree €16 is nothing in comparison to other cost in this industry but more of a hassle.  When I work with optical disc I always have a USB drive with the free XDCam transfer (or PDZ-VX10) with me, ready to install on a clients computer for logging purposes.  Will I now have to BUY licenses for every time I want to do this??  I would rather see Sony give this software away for FREE and hope everyone installs it on every machine available, that way you can always view Sony content wherever you are… 🙂

There are of course other way of importing XDcam optical disc for editing such as the 1500 or 1600 deck or the PDWU1 or U2, which may work faster or better , but I needed to test from-camera-import.

New MacPro announced

Finally!! They had to! They were about to loose a lot of the pro community back to PC. It was in the 11th hour though, and its not due to hit the shelves until this fall but at least we know its coming.
The Apple MacPro might set a new bench mark in desktop computing, at least with that small a foot print!
Really nice features and specs and I can’t wait to order one! 🙂

Www.apple.com for more info!