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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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Make your iMac matte without spending money or applying any screen protector

Video editors who use an iMac and can’t stand the glare have a free, non-invasive solution.

By Allan Tépper | April 30, 2012

For many years, those of us who prefer the Mac platform and a high-quality matte display have had to avoid Apple screens that are glossy (highly reflective) or use an invasive screen protector, which I dislike. Since several years ago, Apple began offering iMac computers exclusively with an ultra reflective screen, many have avoided the iMac in favor of either a tower (Mac Pro) or a Mac Mini. Many ProVideo Coalition readers will recall two of my 2011 articles which covered how STAFF HDTV/Alta Definición from Guatemala re-purposed its older Mac Pro tower for its DaVinci Resolve grading suite, and then found better performance in the editing room with a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac Mini together with a Pegasus disk array. At that time, they chose the Mac Mini over the iMac since they wanted matte monitors (not glossy). I have just become aware of a free, simple, non-invasive, and easily reversible approach to making an iMac become much more matte without using any screen protector.

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AJA announces T-TAP, the US$249 palm-sized, self-powered bridge from Thunderbolt to HDMI or SDI

Is T-TAP appropriate to connect an HP DreamColor monitor?

By Allan Tépper | April 26, 2012

As I have covered in great detail in several prior articles here in ProVideo Coalition magazine, the most complete and most reliable method of connecting your critical video monitor to your computer based editing system is via a professional a/v i/o interface, like those Thunderbolt models now offered by AJA, Blackmagic, Matrox, and now even MOTU. However, most of them are more than what many editors need today in the tapeless acquisition, file-based era. Often editors no longer require any audio or video input at all, since the material primarily arrives in file-based format. That’s why AJA decided to design and build a simpler, lower-priced, self-powered, output-only device called the T-TAP at NAB 2012. The outputs are SDI and HDMI. This article will cover all of the specs (even some vital ones that AJA hasn’t yet published), applications, recommended connections, and define whether the T-TAP is appropriate or not for use with HP’s DreamColor monitor.

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For broadcast news, “Starbucks is the new microwave!”

A recurring theme at NAB 2012, but how true is it?

By Allan Tépper | April 24, 2012

If you’re involved in traditional broadcast news, you know that the most popular established way to send your urgent remote stories back to the TV station is via microwave. For those unfamiliar, I’m not talking about a microwave oven, but a microwave transmitter often installed inside of a news van (OB truck), and often with a parabolic antenna on top. At NAB 2012, a recurring theme was: “Starbucks is the new microwave!” or some variation thereof, for urgent (but not live) news packages. Of course, if you’re in broadcast news in Colombia, South America, then the phrase might be: “¡Juan Valdez es mi nuevo transmisor microonda!”. Obviously, this refers to the free WiFi service available at Starbucks (at least in their USA locations) and at Juan Valdez in Colombia, together with the comfort of editing (optionally) and uploading raw news footage or edited packages from a very cozy environment. Let’s review a couple of such examples from NAB, and compare Internet caf© WiFi upload speeds to that of “4G” LTE in the USA.

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iPad video journalism comes of age at NAB 2012

By Allan Tépper | April 21, 2012

iNEWS and iPad (photo courtesy of Avid)

Ever since I saw the 3rd-generation iPad (2012), I began to have visions of its use for video journalism. Many of ProVideo Coalition magazine readers sent me private enthusiastic comments about my pre-NAB iPad articles like Avid now lets you edit video on your iPad for US$4.99. Should you?, Why an iPad is like a 4-5 view camera, and why you'll need a black "focusing cloth" and later part 1 of my review called 1st handheld dynamic microphones with hybrid XLR/USB/iPad connectivity from Audio Technica. While I was translating/localizing brochures for Avid Latin America just before NAB 2012, I became aware that they were going to launch iNews Command for iPad. On the NAB 2012 floor, I saw several iPad video journalists. Ahead you’ll find several photos, a few videos, and comments about various iPad video accessories.

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NAB 2012 applause! Blackmagic’s cinema camera uses HFS+ formatting rather than weak FAT32

Thank you Blackmagic for using HFS+, balanced audio inputs, and standard códecs/file formats.

By Allan Tépper | April 19, 2012

As some of my colleagues at ProVideo Coalition magazine have already reported, at NAB 2012, Blackmagic announced its first digital motion picture camera, officially known as the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. For US$2999, Blackmagic gives you the camera, a license of DaVinci Resolve (US$995 value) and a license of UltraScope (US$695 value). Supply your own Canon EF or Zeiss ZE lens and recording media. I applaud Blackmagic for making one of the two best possible decisions regarding the formatting used on the removable SSDs (solid state drives), and for using standard códecs/file formats. Unlike what many traditional photo and video camera manufacturers have chosen to implement (the weak FAT32), Blackmagic chose to use HFS+ (aka HFS Plus or Mac OS Extended). In this first look, I’ll review the differences and advantages of either HFS+ or UDF over FAT32, and point out some other details, i.e. the audio connections and file formats.

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At NAB 2012: Jordan, Okada & T©pper join Laporte and Lindsay on MacBreak Weekly

Larry Jordan, Daryn Okada, and Allan T©pper join Leo Laporte and Alex Lindsay on MacBreak Weekly

By Allan Tépper | April 19, 2012

At NAB 2012, I was honored to be invited by Leo Laporte to participate together with Larry Jordan, Daryn Okada and Alex Lindsay on MacBreak Weekly. This episode 295 was streamed live from the Las Vegas Convention Center on Tuesday, April 17 2012 and is now available for immediate streaming or download. We discuss many of the new developments at NAB 2012, in general and with respect to the Mac. Alex Lindsay even comments about the potency of the coffee he allegedly consumed during his yet unconfirmed trip to the 24th century during the creation of a yet unannounced feature, as covered in a recent article here in ProVideo Coalition magazine. This episode of MacBreak Weekly has a duration of 1:41, calculated especially for fans of palindromes.

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1st handheld dynamic microphones with hybrid XLR/USB/iPad connectivity from Audio Technica

1st handheld dynamic microphones with hybrid XLR/USB/iPad connectivity from Audio Technica

Part 1: Background, why we needed such a microphone, comparative performance tests

By Allan Tépper | April 10, 2012

Over the past few years, the market has become flooded with USB microphones, but most have been condenser models, and only a couple have been dynamic. Those dynamic models have been USB-only. There has been a need for dynamic USB microphones that were also hybrid (XLR balanced analog + USB digital, together with onboard zero-latency monitoring), especially since the external converters are both costly and bulky, and USB-only microphones are -by nature- more limited in terms of applications. In this part 1, I’ll clarify when dynamic microphones are preferred over condenser models, where USB-connected microphones “fit”, cover Audio Technica’s first hybrid dynamic models, and offer three comparative recordings between our reference Heil PR–40, the legendary Shure SM58, and the new ATR2100-USB, which is one of two handheld hybrid dynamic models from Audio Technica.

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PsF’s missing workflow, Part 10:  FCP X

How to deal with 25PsF and 29.97PsF with Final Cut Pro X

By Allan Tépper | March 14, 2012

In parts 1-3 of the PsF's missing workflow series, we introduced the terms benign PsF & malignant PsF, and revealed the PsF status of several AVCHD cameras from 3 manufacturers. In #4, we did the same with several HD recorders. In #5, we revealed how one recorder manufacturer is offering its own software to counteract the hostile HDMI output found on many cameras. In #6, I published an open letter to all pro AVCHD manufacturers. In #7, I covered how to deal with PsF with Premiere Pro CS5.5. In #8, I showed how ClipWrap is an excellent solution for many Mac editors. In #9, I discussed PsF with the sub US$100 Adobe Premiere Elements 10. Now in part 10, I’ll cover how to deal with 25PsF and 29.97PsF with Final Cut Pro X.

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Why an iPad is like a 4x5 view camera, and why you’ll need a black “focusing cloth”

By Allan Tépper | March 12, 2012

In case you hadn’t heard yet: Apple has just established the iPad (2012) as a viable HD video camera (among many other things). Back in the days when still photography was done with 4x5 view cameras, photographers used something called a “focusing cloth”… defined by Merriam-Webster as: “an opaque dark cloth used to cover the rear of the camera and the head and shoulders of the photographer in order to exclude most of the light except that coming through the lens”. In the case of still photography with a 4x5 view camera, it was primarily to help the photographer focus. In the case of the ultra-glossy iPad screen when used outdoors to shoot HD video, you’ll need it even to see the screen properly, in order to compose and assign the subject for autofocus and exposure… and even to start and stop the recording. In this article, I’ll cover what an iPad has in common with a 4x5 view camera, show a iPad tripod mount, a “focusing cloth”… and make a request to FiLMIC PRO, Hoodman USA and Zacuto.

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Sound Device’s PIX recorders: a closer look as of firmware 1.07

By Allan Tépper | March 11, 2012

Many people know Sound Devices as a renowned manufacturer of very high-end audio equipment for field production. They make some of the best (and higher-priced) field audio mixers and recorders available on the market, and do so since 1998. Later, Sound Devices began selling high-end USB audio interfaces, one of which I reviewed. Those items have frequently been used for audio-for-video for over a decade, but only in April 2011 did Sound Devices announce its first two video products, the PIX 220 and PIX 240 HD video recorders that offer several types of ProRes422 (Apple) and DNxHD (Avid) códecs. In this article, I’ll cover many details about these two recorders as of firmware 1.07. Yes, in less than a year, there have been seven firmware updates! Read More

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Bandito Brothers use multiple HP DreamColors + Adobe Premiere for Act of Valor

Multiple DreamColor monitors, Adobe Premiere CS5.5, and an HDSLR used for Act of Valor

By Allan Tépper | March 09, 2012

I recently had the pleasure and honor of being invited again by Hewlett Packard to their 2012 media event, where I was able to speak with Jacob Rosenberg, Chief Technical Officer and partner of Bandito Brothers, which created Act of Valor. Jacob was one of several guest speakers at the media event which took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He described several technical facets of the production of Act of Valor for the audience, including the camera, workstations, software, and monitors which I’ll summarize in this article, together with the somewhat surprising color space chosen by Bandito Brothers.

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GH2 adds missing AVCHD 29.97PsF… but worsens its already non-standard HDMI output

An improvement for internal recording, together with further disappointment for external recording

By Allan Tépper | March 02, 2012

The segregated 59.94Hz version of Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GH2 camera (aka GH2) originally offered just two combinations of progressive internal AVCHD modes: 1080p23.976 (commonly but imprecisely known as “24p”) and 720p59.94 (commonly but imprecisely known as “60p”). With firmware version 1.1, Panasonic added a 29.97PsF AVCHD mode at 24Mb/s to the 59.97Hz segregated version of the camera (together with some other improvements), and after the update, the GH2 fortunately does make an internal AVCHD recording at 29.97 fps. Sadly, what was already unfortunate with its HDMI output before is now worse after this update, as I discovered when testing the PIX 220 HD recorder from Sound Devices with the GH2 (and other cameras). This is ironic since Panasonic originally advertised this camera as having a clean recordable HDMI output. This article will explain what this means in detail, include some test footage, and what you should know and possibly do about it. Read More

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AJA and Sound Devices embrace Sony NXCAM’s timecode-over-HDMI

Free firmware updates enable timecode-over-HDMI from NXCAM, but is that enough?

By Allan Tépper | February 29, 2012

Many ProVideo Coalition readers may recall my article called Untapped features in Sony NXCAM’s new HDMI output from June 2011. At that point, I surveyed several external HD video recorder manufacturers as to their plans to support the multiple new NXCAM features. (This of course includes the FS100 which Adam Wilt just reviewed, along with other NXCAMs from Sony.) At that point, I received a response from AJA and from Sound Devices which both expressed intent to support at least some of the features, but no dates or other details. Now I am happy to report that both AJA and Sound Devices have embraced Sony NXCAM’s timecode-over-HDMI in some of their products. This article will review the NXCAM’s new HDMI features and clarify which are now supported (and which are not yet supported) by these two manufacturers, and what that means for you.

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How to get the “24p” look for your live-switched multicam shoot

A contracted article, sponsored by Datavideo Corporation.

By Allan Tépper | February 10, 2012

Our friends at Datavideo recently asked me to write an article called How to get the “24p” look for your live-switched multicam shoot. The article covers many factors involved in accomplishing that goal, including framerate, aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, and menu settings in Datavideo’s digital HD video mixers (“switchers”) and recorders, and also the menu settings in several pro cameras from Canon, Panasonic, and Sony. The included chart explains which of the cameras have a direct HD-SDI output, and which require an optional converter to go from HDMI to HD-SDI to connect to the Datavideo digital HD video mixer. As you’ll see in the article, the approach is quite different from the workflows I normally cover, which are more appropriate when programs are to be edited, as opposed to when they are shot -and potentially broadcast- live. The graphics for this article were done by Victory Elliot of Datavideo Corporation. Read More

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Avid now lets you edit video on your iPad for US$4.99. Should you?

A first look at Avid Studio for iPad, and an extrapolation as to what it can mean for pro video editors in the short and longer term.

By Allan Tépper | February 02, 2012

I was privileged to find out a few hours in advance of the public announcement of Avid Studio for iPad, since Avid contracted me to translate and localize the press release, as fortunately they often do. There was something about this press release that really intrigued me. It wasn’t so much the specific advantages that Avid Studio for iPad has over other editing apps for iPad, like offering both Storyboard and Timeline views in a single iPad app, or being able to import source material from anywhere inside or outside of the iPad. It was more the fact that the announcement was coming from Avid, and the spirit of the two quotes that appear at the end of the press release. In this article, I’ll give a first look at the app, define what it is (and what it isn’t), and extrapolate about what this can mean for video editing in the short, mid, and long term. Of course, I’ll include those two quotes that intrigued me so much. Read More

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AJA’s Io XT w/ Thunderbolt is now available, but it is not Riker: What’s the cover-up?

Why are William Riker and Leo Laporte involved in a Pegasus cover-up?

By Allan Tépper | February 01, 2012

AJA is now shipping its US$1495 Io XT, AJA’s first Thunderbolt device which I covered in detail when it was first announced in September 2011. Some of you have asked me whether the Io XT is the same as the prototype code-named “Riker” product that AJA showed at NAB back in April 2011. The answer is no. This article will explain why the Io XT is not Riker, review the currently-available Thunderbolt audio/video i/o devices I’ve covered so far (including the Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID), and clarify William Riker’s involvement in the Pegasus cover-up, as well as that of Leo Laporte, who recently declared Thunderbolt to be “D.O.A.” and “too late” on MacBreak Weekly. Even though neither is true, I think Leo had a very good reason to say those things. Read More

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Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID5 from PROMISE

The high-performance video RAID5 you need for today's modern Mac-based video editing systems

By Allan Tépper | January 31, 2012

As many ProVideo Coalition readers may recall, I have written about disk arrays from PROMISE before, although the last time it was primarily to be used with a computer with an eSATA port. Now that all Mac computers (except for the MacPro tower) use a Thunderbolt port, many are looking for a disk array which will have the appropriate connection and that will be at least as fast as what they got previously with eSATA. In this article, you’ll find my results with the Pegasus from PROMISE, used both with a Mac Mini and a MacBook Air. You’ll also find PROMISE’s official position on journaling or non-journaling with this device, since this was not previously documented anywhere to my knowledge. Read More

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Can a professional really use Premiere Elements 10?

This article accompanies my recent chapter 9 of the PsF’s missing workflow series, which offers workarounds to use PsF from AVCHD properly in Premiere Elements 10, as well as native 1080p23.976.

By Allan Tépper | December 31, 2011

I first wrote about Premiere Elements back when version 9 was first released for the Mac. At that point, I received an NFR (Not For Resale) copy from Adobe but was so concerned about its lack of direct support for PsF in AVCHD that I delayed writing about it again while I exchanged e-mails with the Premiere Elements team. In the meantime, I kept myself quite busy covering other topics, and earlier this week, I published chapter 9 in the PsF’s missing workflow about how to get around Premiere Elements’ current lack of direct support for PsF in AVCHD, and even direct support for native 23.976p (“24p”) in AVCHD. In this article, I answer a logical question: Can a professional really use Premiere Elements? This sub-US$100 program is available for Mac or Windows. Here are the answers.

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PsF’s missing workflow, Part 9: Premiere Elements 10

Despite the Premiere Elements team’s denial about the existence of PsF in AVCHD, fortunately there are workarounds to handle AVCHD PsF properly with the sub US$100 Premiere Elements in many cases.

By Allan Tépper | December 28, 2011

In parts 1-3 of the PsF’s missing workflow series, we introduced the terms benign PsF & malignant PsF, and revealed the PsF status of several AVCHD cameras from 3 manufacturers. In #4, we did the same with several HD recorders. In #5, we revealed how one recorder manufacturer is offering its own software to counteract the inappropriate signals offered over HDMI by many cameras. In #6, I published an open letter to all pro AVCHD manufacturers. In #7, I covered how to deal with PsF on a progressive sequence in Premiere Pro CS5.5. In #8, I showed how ClipWrap is an excellent solution for many Mac editors. Now in #9, I’ll discuss PsF with the sub US$100 Adobe Premiere Elements 10.

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Sony’s FS100 camera to become “WorldCam” via free firmware update

By Allan Tépper | December 26, 2011

Sony USA has just officially announced that the (so-far) segregated 59.94Hz FS100 camera (officially known as the NEX-FS100, often followed by a regional suffix, and then sometimes by the letter “K” to indicate that it is a kit, packaged with a lens) is about to go “WorldCam” via a free firmware update sometime at the beginning of 2012. “WorldCam” is a term used to indicate that a camera has the necessary framerates to be used worldwide, similar to an unlocked quad-band GSM phone that I have used for more than a decade to travel internationally without roaming charges. Beyond using a camera worldwide, having a WorldCam camera is also helpful when a producer needs to acquire content to be broadcast primarily in another country which uses a different framerate. This article will cover the novelistic history of the FS100’s uncertain potential capacity to become WorldCam, as well as some other improvements included in the upcoming firmware update… and some other improvements that are still missing.

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