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by Allan Tépper

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Allan Tépper has been working with professional video since the early eighties, since he first learned to edit video using the open-reel 1/2” EIAJ-1 format with a Sony AV-3650 editing deck in his high school in Connecticut. Since 1994, Tépper has been consulting both end-users and manufacturers via his Florida company. Via TecnoTur, Tépper has been giving video technology seminars in several South Florida’s universities and training centers, and in a half dozen Latin American countries, in their native language. Tépper has been a freque...

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Why FCP X’s secondary monitor should be 1920x1200, not 1920x1080

Depending upon your prior experience, you might call it a program monitor, a Canvas, or nowadays even a Viewer.

By Allan Tépper | August 15, 2011

While the jury is still out as to whether we can actually trust a calibrated Rec.709 or sRGB monitor connected directly to a Mac for critical gamma and color evaluation for grading from Final Cut Pro X (the way we can do conditionally as explained in my other articles with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and 5.5), some editors who don’t yet demand that capability (or are awaiting complete integration between FCP X and the professional i/o devices from AJA, Blackmagic, Matrox, or MOTU) are looking to purchase a second monitor to use that feature in FCP X. Of course, I’m referring to the feature which Apple called “Digital Cinema Display” in classic FCP jargon, which displayed your “Canvas” (“program monitor” in traditional pro video jargon, plus some other functions) full screen onto a secondary monitor connected directly to your Mac computer. In FCP X, the jargon has changed, so it’s called showing your “Viewer” on a secondary monitor. In this article, I’ll explain why (even though you’re probably editing 1080p) your secondary monitor for FCP X should be 1920x1200, not 1920x1080. I’ll also recommend some monitor candidates for that.

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Apple USA unfortunately segregates Mac Mini’s keyboard options

By Allan Tépper | August 08, 2011

Apple is the most flexible of all computer manufacturers in the USA with its wonderful policy of offering all of the Apple computers with whichever keyboard the customer wants with a new BTO (built-to-order) computer purchase. Well, I should say almost all of them. The fact is that when ordering a BTO Mac from Apple USA’s online store at store.Apple.com (or via an Apple dealer that has access to BTO Macs), you can select your choice of keyboard, as long as it is an iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or Mac Pro (tower). However, now that the Mac Mini has become such an attractive platform for professional video editing systems (see my related article about that), I have several disappointed consulting clients who are getting undesired answers when they called Apple USA's 800 number after seeing incomplete keyboard options for the Mac Mini on the website. Read More

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Mac Mini w/Thunderbolt: preferred platform for many new editing systems

By Allan Tépper | August 08, 2011

Whether they are planning to edit video with software from Adobe, Apple, or Avid, the new Mac Mini with Thunderbolt has become the preferred platform for many people, including several of my consulting clients who are tired of waiting for new MacPros to be released and can’t stand the glare from the ultra-glossy iMac. The Thunderbolt capabilities in the new Mac Mini (helpful for fast external RAIDs and the upcoming professional interfaces from AJA, Blackmagic, and Matrox) together with the available i7 processor and 8GB -or even 16GB- RAM upgrades from third-parties, plus direct dual monitor capability (which gives the editor the choice to purchase one or two high-quality matte displays) really seem to make the Mac Mini much more sensible for serious audio/video editing than in the past. In this article, I’ll cover all of the details about such a system.

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Review: Roland OCTA-CAPTURE 8/10-channel USB 2.0 audio interface

An ideal i/o device to capture up to 10 independent audio sources simultaneously, each on its own individual track.

By Allan Tépper | August 06, 2011

Many of the affordable pro audio interfaces that are available on the market have a maximum of two balanced microphone inputs, and few of them include hardware-based limiting, compression, or gating. Among the special features of Roland's OCTA-CAPTURE is the fact that it contains 10 total audio inputs, of which 8 are balanced microphone inputs. The OCTA-CAPTURE allows recording to a standalone audio recorder and/or to a computer. At least when used with a computer and a compatible piece of audio software, the operator can even record all of the available inputs on individual tracks, which provides extra flexibility in post-production, i.e. to mute a cough, or to re-adjust volume or equalization of any particular source after-the-fact without affecting any other source recorded simultaneously. The OCTA-CAPTURE also features onboard compression and gating. In this article, I'll cover the OCTA-CAPTURE's features, setup, preamp quality, compatible audio software, and then offer my conclusions.{C} Read More

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Adobe & Avid attract FCP-defectors with special discounts

SingularSoftware reverses prior policy; offers 50% crossgrade for PluralEyes

By Allan Tépper | July 08, 2011

When I began publishing my FCP-exodus articles last year, even some other ProVideo Coalition magazine writers thought and commented that my words were an exaggeration. However, now some of them are defecting from Final Cut Pro, and several other award-winning editors are doing the same. Part of the enticement to jump ship are the special crossgrade pricing being offered by Adobe and Avid, and part is the fact that they need either features which are currently missing in FCP X and/or the need to import FCP 6/7 projects in their new editor. In this article, I'll round up the crossover pricing from Adobe, Avid, and SingularSoftware, which has reversed its prior policy based upon this new era of turmoil in video editing tools. I'll also offer some quotes from editors who have moved or declared intentions to move. Read More

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FCP7 back for Enterprise/new features for FCPX within weeks

By Allan Tépper | July 07, 2011

Yesterday (July 6, 2011) Apple reportedly held a briefing in London. According to Arnold Kim of MacRumors.com, Alex4d summarizes tweets by attendee @aPostEngineer which reveal the nine points, which range from FCP7 licenses being back for Enterprise, XML i/o coming for X soon, AJA support for tape in X, xSAN support for X. Here are the nine points, verbatim: Read More

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Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 brings better handling of medium framerate videos recorded as PsF

One of a series of undocumented improvements in Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and Media Encoder CS 5.5

By Allan Tépper | July 01, 2011

You may have noticed that even many late model AVCHD cameras shoot medium framerate progressive video (i.e. 1080/25p and 1080/29.97p) as PsF (Progressive Segmented Frame), meaning that they (unfortunately) record 25p-over-50i and/or 29.97p-over-59.94i. This regrettably occurs with both consumer and even some of the latest professional AVCHD cameras with the mentioned progressive framerates. Fortunately, this practice doesn't damage the internal AVCHD video recording quality to any perceptible degree since the encoder knows that it's progressive, but unfortunately it makes the video more susceptible to being mistreated later on, either by a video editing program which mistakenly thinks that it is interlaced and consequently de-interlaces it when importing it into a progressive timeline, or by an HDTV set that does the same thing. Unnecessary de-interlacing is a bad thing and should be avoided when bringing progressive footage into a progressive timeline… or into a progressive display device, like an LCD, Plasma, or projector. One of the best ways to prevent unnecessary de-interlacing is by recording the progressive signal natively (not as PsF), but that's not the case with many cameras when shooting 1080/25p and 1080/29.97p. This article will clarify the issue further, explain how we overrode it manually with Premiere Pro CS 5 and Media Encoder 5, and how the 5.5 upgrade resolves it automatically! Read More

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Izzy Video produces free 2:39 FCP X video tutorial

By Allan Tépper | July 01, 2011

Our colleague Israel ("Izzy") Hyman of Izzy Video has produced and published a free 2:39 Final Cut Pro X video tutorial. Yes, I said free. Yes, I mean 2 hours and 39 minutes, and yes, it is extremely well organized and well presented, and demonstrates that FCP X (despite several initial limitations) is extremely powerful. I have invested the time into seeing the entire production, and have absorbed it. I must applaud, congratulate, and thank Izzy for investing the considerably more time producing it. Finally, I must encourage any video editor to invest the time to absorb it also, and then (if you agree with me) you can applaud, congratulate, and thank Izzy too. The tutorial is divided into 26 digestible chapters, so you don't have to watch it all in a single session. Read More

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Apple publishes urgently needed FCP X FAQ

By Allan Tépper | June 29, 2011

Apple has just published the following FAQ for FXP X, in which the company answers previously unanswered questions and commits itself to adding certain missing features. Here they are. Read More

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PluralEyes for FCP X: a public statement from the creator Singular Software

By Allan Tépper | June 29, 2011

The creator of PluralEyes, Singular Software, has received lots of questions about PluralEyes and Final Cut Pro X. There are nine questions, which cover compatibility, availability, policies, and price regarding PluralEyes for FCP X. Here are the answers. Read More

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How to pick Mac video editing software after the FCP X launch

Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5, Apple FCP X 1.0, or Avid MC 5.5? Multicam, pro i/o, closed captions?

By Allan Tépper | June 23, 2011

After the launch of FCP X 1.0, Mac users can finally analyze which video editing software to choose depending upon key features. Now there is finally a recent version to compare from Adobe (Premiere Pro CS 5.5), Apple (Final Cut Pro X 1.0), and Avid (Media Composer 5.5). Since Apple has ceased to support FCP 7 as of the release of FCP X, the possibility of using FCP 7 under MacOS 10.7 (Lion) is unpredictable. [UPDATE: Apple has stated that FCP7 will run under Lion.] This article will cover three key features which may be critical to your current or upcoming projects: multicam (or the capability of auto syncing clips from multiple cameras, whether or not some of them have stopped recording during the event), full use of a professional i/o interface (like the ones from AJA, Blackmagic, Matrox, or MOTU), and the inboard capability of incorporating and viewing closed captions. Since as of October 2010, closed captions are legally required in the USA even for certain web videos (details ahead in this article), this will be of increasing importance to many editors. Read More

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Panasonic AF100 joins forces with Sony encoder for 25p Euro spot in Miami

The Sony encoder in the nanoFlash allowed for 4:2:2, 25p recording from the AF100

By Allan Tépper | June 12, 2011

Recently I was put in charge of the technical workflow for an HD 1080/25p real estate commercial spot to be shot in Miami, Florida, and broadcast in several European countries. I suppose my years of writing articles and giving seminars about 25p workflow in (ex) NTSC countries had something to do with my being chosen. This article covers: why director Rub©n Abruña chose the Panasonic AF100 rather than the Sony FS100, the lenses used, how the Sony "Beyond XDCAM-HD" encoder in the nanoFlash recorder achieved a superior 4:2:2 recording, the technical workflow used in the production and post, and even how we were able to display the final 25p spot on the client's segregated HDTV set (which normally rejects anything 25Hz or 50Hz) without having to convert the signal. You'll also be able to view and hear all four language versions of the 30-second spot: Castilian, English, French, and Italian. Read More

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Untapped features in Sony NXCAM’s new HDMI output

Uncompressed 1080 50p/59.94p, timecode, and even RGB 4:4:4 from your camera's HDMI port!

By Allan Tépper | June 09, 2011

Sony's latest NXCAM cameras fortunately feature unprecedented new features with their live HDMI outputs, including uncompressed 1080p at 50p or 59.94p, timecode, and even RGB 4:4:4 capabilities as an alternative to the standard YUV 4:2:2 modes. They also offer special pulldown modes for 23.976p (2:3), 25p (2:2), or 29.97p (2:2) (model dependent) with flags to help an external recorder reverse-telecine and recover the original, pure progressive signal. This is great for those of us that -for certain projects- want to record an even better signal than what's possible inside of the camera with AVCHD. However, today's external HDMI recorders don't yet support these new features. This article is about which NXCAM models include these new features, more details about them, and the response from each external recorder manufacturer about the likelihood of supporting these features, either in their current -or future- models. We'll also explore which new NXCAMs say farewell to 29.97p. Read More

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AJA KiPro Mini review + commentary

By Allan Tépper | April 21, 2011

Like a miniature version of the original KiPro from AJA (which I reviewed in October 2009), the KiPro Mini performs many of the same functions (although not all of them) in a fraction of the space -and at a fraction of the cost- and is designed to dock onto the back of many professional camcorders, while it makes a higher quality recording than that is possible internally with most of them. With a flood of other 4:2:2 dockable recorders reaching the market (and one that existed previously which recorded MPEG2 8-bit), this article will attempt to point out the KiPro Mini's unique virtues, so you'll have a better idea why it may -or may not- be the best one for you. Read More

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Do you work in the broadcast industry? What does “broadcast” mean?

The term "broadcast" has multiple meanings and contexts.

By Allan Tépper | April 09, 2011

Do you work in the broadcast industry? What does the word broadcast mean to you? If you work for a radio or TV station or network in almost any capacity, you probably consider yourself to be a broadcaster. If you're a stringer (an independent videographer who shoots news for TV), then you probably consider yourself to be a broadcaster too. If you manufacture or sell "broadcast" cameras or other equipment, then you probably consider yourself to be part of the broadcast industry. There was a time when people questioned whether a particular camera, recorder or other device was "broadcast quality" or not. As a certified translator, I am very aware of a particular word's many nuances, especially when someone asks me to translate that word. In this article, we'll explore and define different meanings of the term broadcast in various contexts. Then these meanings will become reference points for upcoming articles. Read More

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PluralEyes for Premiere Pro CS5 (Mac) reviewed

You'll wonder how you ever survived without it

By Allan Tépper | March 14, 2011

If you ever record dual-system audio or multiple camera angles without synchronized timecode, you'll wonder how you ever survived without PluralEyes added to your editing software. Users of Premiere Pro CS5 for Mac who are aware of PluralEyes for other editing programs will be happy to know that a version of PluralEyes is now available for their preferred app too. This article will go over PluralEyes' general features and then illustrate the specific workflow used with Premiere Pro CS5 compared to the way it works with other video editing software. Read More

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Thunderbolt in MacBook Pro: a new era for demanding video editors who prefer laptops

Sound the trumpets! The 2-year mourning period that began in 2009 can finally end!

By Allan Tépper | February 27, 2011

As we have amply covered in multiple articles in ProVideo Coalition magazine, demanding online editing of multiple realtime HD video layers requires a high bandwidth connection to an external disk array, especially in the tapeless acquisition era, when it is even more desirable to use RAID5 (or equivalent). In many cases, it is also extremely desirable to have a high bandwidth connection to advanced video i/o devices from companies like AJA, Blackmagic, and Matrox. Since Apple laptops have never offered direct eSATA ports -and some professional i/o interfaces connect via the ExpressCard/34 port, demanding editors were able to connect one or the other (but not both simultaneously) in sub-17" MacBook Pros until June 2009, when Apple nixed the ExpressCard/34 slot on 15" models. Now that Apple offers a Thunderbolt port on all MacBook Pros (13", 15", and 17"), we'll soon be able to have both of our wishes simultaneously: high bandwidth for external storage, and high bandwidth for advanced video i/o interfaces. Thunderbolt in a laptop indeed represents a quantum leap for serious video postproduction. (See also my upcoming related article regarding Thunderbolt in live video production.)In this article:The virtues and limitations of ExpressCard/34Thunderbolt says: "Here I come to save the day!"Is the King of DAS dead? Has Thunderbolt dethroned eSATA?10Gb/s, not 10GB/s! Read More

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To DRM or not to DRM? That is the question for today’s digital content producers

By Allan Tépper | January 20, 2011

Whether you are a video producer, music producer, audiobook producer, or the author of ebooks, if you sell your content, there's really no escape from the question: "To DRM or not to DRM?" If you aren't yet familiar with the acronym, DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, and basically refers to technologies which can limit digital content. Some DRM implementations aim to prevent copying at all, while others aim to limit the number of permitted copies. To give a familiar example, Apple's iTunes Store originally created its FairPlay DRM system which limited playback of a file to a maximum of five registered computers. However, as quickly as Apple was able to convince content producers (mainly record labels) that they were better off without it, Apple gradually began eliminating DRM and finished that process at the beginning of 2009. For me, the question "To DRM or not to DRM?" recently demanded an immediate decision when I decided to release my book Unleash GoogleVoice's hidden power as an ebook. Previously, it had existed only as a printed book. Although I had previously created digital video tutorials, the DRM decision for them hadn't come up because up until now, my digital video tutorials haven't been sold by themselves: They've been included with seminars and webinars. Read More

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Google political move stifles web video distribution & complicates our workflow

Google has thrown a monkey wrench in present & future recommended practices

By Allan Tépper | January 16, 2011

In case you didn't hear yet, Google recently announced the elimination of support for H.264 in HTML5 video in its popular Chrome web browser within the next few months, in favor of WebM (VP8) and Theora video códecs. Despite Google's official justifications for the move in the name of openness, many analysts (including myself) see this as a political move against Apple, and even hypocritical since the Chrome browser has contained (and will continue to contain) an embedded Flash player. Our logical conclusion is that Google's next step will be to drop support for H.264 in its Android operating system too. This happens after H.264 already has achieved support from Adobe, Apple, and even Microsoft. Up until now, Google's Chrome browser has directly supported H.264 with HTML5's video tag. Before this shocking below the belt punch, many content producers were well along the way of offering HTML5 video with H.264, playable as raw or automatic fallback to the same file embedded in Flash if the browser didn't support it in HTML5, as I have covered in my seminars. However, as we see the writing on the wall, this will likely no longer be sufficient for the ever popular Android devices as they likely become updated to newer versions which would purposefully exclude H.264 playback, especially considering the poor Flash performance on most of the current Android devices that even support it at all. So within a short time, the preferred video códecs for Android devices will likely be WebM (VP8) or Theora, while for Apple iOS devices (AppleTV, iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch), it will remain to be H.264. Read More

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TecnoTur 6 (Castilian): interviews with Escuchalibros, RAMM Animation, and actress Carla Sánchez

2D animation in Latin America, audiobook production in Spain, and Venezuelan actress/model Carla Sánchez

By Allan Tépper | November 24, 2010

TecnoTur episode 6 in Castilian (aka "Spanish") is now available. In episode 6, we learn about Venezuelan actress/model Carla Sánchez's latest projects, and we briefly discuss Allan T©pper's book Unleash GoogleVoice's hidden power for 3G, WiFi, and free international roaming. Then we present the 2nd part of our interview with Rafael Andreu of RAMM Animation, whose projects have included the Castilian version of Sesame Street (Plazo S©samo in Latin America or Barrio S©samo in Spain). Finally, we discuss audiobook production with Victoria Mesas García of Escuchalibros of Spain. Here are details about how to hear TecnoTur free, or become a subscriber. Read More

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