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TecnoTur

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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Sony’s NX70 camera to receive its missing 29.97p framerate via free firmware update

29.97p is a vital framerate for producers in ex-NTSC countries. I’m glad Sony has recognized this fact and is finally adding it to the NX70.

By Allan Tépper | December 25, 2011

Sony has just announced that the NXCAM camera model known officially as the HXR-NX70 (often followed by a regional suffix) -but colloquially known simply as the NX70- will receive the vital 29.97p framerate via a free downloadable firmware, sometime in the first quarter of 2012. Well, let me get a little more specific: The 59.94Hz segregated versions of the NX70 will get 1080PsF29.97. This article will explain how vital this framerate is for many producers in ex-NTSC countries, and cover some other improvements included in this update, together with a few that are still missing.

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PsF’s missing workflow, Part 8: ClipWrap to the rescue

Like a bridge over troubled waters, ClipWrap will now be the cure-all for AVCHD’s multiple weaknesses for many Mac video editors, at least in the short term.

By Allan Tépper | November 30, 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 professional AVCHD cameras from 3 manufacturers (Canon, Panasonic, and Sony). In #4, we did the same with several HD video recorders from 6 different manufacturers. In #5, we revealed how one recorder manufacturer is offering its own “Band-Aid” software to counteract the inappropriate signals offered over HDMI by many camera manufacturers. 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. Now in #8, I’ll reveal how the US$49.99 middleware known as ClipWrap will be the cure-all for all of AVCHD’s multiple weaknesses, including both types of PsF, at least in the short term.

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PsF’s missing workflow, Part 7: Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5.x

How to deal with 25PsF and 29.97PsF with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5.x

By Allan Tépper | November 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 professional AVCHD cameras from 3 manufacturers (Canon, Panasonic, and Sony). In part 4, we did the same with several file-based HD video recorders from 6 different manufacturers. In part 5, we revealed how one recorder manufacturer is offering its own “Band-Aid” software to counteract the inappropriate signals offered over HDMI by many camera manufacturers. In part 6, I published and Open Letter to all pro AVCHD manufacturers. Here in part 7, I’ll cover how to deal with 25PsF and 29.97PsF on a progressive sequence in Premiere Pro CS5.5.x.

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PsF’s missing workflow, Part 6: Tépper asks the camera manufacturers…

An open letter to professional AVCHD camera manufacturers

By Allan Tépper | November 14, 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 professional AVCHD cameras from 3 manufacturers (Canon, Panasonic, and Sony). In part 4, we did the same with several file-based HD video recorders from 6 different manufacturers. In part 5, we revealed how one recorder manufacturer is offering its own “Band-Aid” software to counteract the inappropriate signals offered over HDMI by many camera manufacturers. Starting with part 7, I’ll begin offering workarounds within several software editing programs, and with at least one external application. However, here in part 6, I am asking questions and making suggestions to the 3 professional AVCHD camera manufacturers who are responsible for creating this entire mess in the first place.

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PsF’s missing workflow, Part 5: Átomos hires a stripper!

Átomos hires a stripper to counteract malignant PsF!

By Allan Tépper | November 11, 2011

In part 1 of PsF’s missing workflow, we introduced the new terms benign PsF and malignant PsF (Progressive Segmented Frame), reviewed their vital importance and fragility in post-production, and clarified the PsF status of two Panasonic professional AVCHD/AVCCAM cameras. In part 2, we revealed the PsF status of the Canon XA10 professional AVCHD camera. In part 3, we clarified the PsF status of Sony’s professional AVCHD/NXCAM cameras. In part 4, we covered some portable HD recorders and their PsF status. Now, in part 5, we’ll learn why Átomos (manufacturer of the portable HD recorders creatively called Ninja and Samurai) has hired a stripper to help correct the malignant PsF signal that many cameras output via HDMI.

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PsF’s missing workflow, Part 4: file-based HD video recorders

By Allan Tépper | November 10, 2011

In part 1 of PsF’s missing workflow, we introduced the new terms benign PsF and malignant PsF (Progressive Segmented Frame), reviewed their vital importance and fragility in post-production, and clarified the PsF status of two Panasonic professional AVCHD/AVCCAM cameras. In part 2, we covered the PsF status of the Canon XA10 professional AVCHD camera. In part 3, we clarified the PsF status of Sony’s professional AVCHD/NXCAM cameras. Now, in part 4, we’ll cover some file-based recorders (from manufacturers like AJA, Átomos, Blackmagic, Convergent Design, Datavideo, and Sound Devices), their PsF status, and their purpose in your system and workflow.

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PsF’s missing workflow, Part 3: Sony’s AVCHD & NXCAM cameras

By Allan Tépper | October 31, 2011

In part 1 of PsF’s missing workflow, we introduced the new terms benign PsF and malignant PsF (Progressive Segmented Frame), reviewed their vital importance and fragility in post-production, and clarified the PsF status of two Panasonic professional AVCHD cameras (branded as AVCCAM). In part 2, we clarified the PsF status of the Canon XA10 professional AVCHD camera. Now, in part 3, we’ll clarify the PsF status of Sony’s professional AVCHD cameras, some of which carry the NXCAM brand.

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PsF’s missing workflow, Part 2: the Canon XA10 camera

By Allan Tépper | October 26, 2011

At US$1,999 street price including balanced XLR audio inputs, the Canon XA10 AVCHD camera is quite interesting from several perspectives, and that’s probably why so many of my consulting clients who favor 25p or 29.97p and need balanced audio have chosen it. The XA10 reminds me of a shrunken, sexier-looking Panasonic AG-HMC40. The XA10’s CMOS sensor is larger than that of the AG-HMC40, and rather than oversampling with higher than 1080p resolution, Canon decided to make it native 1920x1080 and skip the 720p modes altogether, so there is no scaling and better sensitivity than the HMC40. But this article is not a review about the XA10s specs and feature set, but how it stands in terms of PsF status, and how that unfortunately complicates -or jeopardizes- its ideal post workflow for those producing 25p or 29.97p.

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PsF’s missing workflow Part 1: BENIGN PsF versus MALIGNANT PsF

PsF footage requires special treatment in post, and its sources are growing at an alarming rate.

By Allan Tépper | October 23, 2011

Here in Part 1 of PsF’s missing workflow, I’ll define two new terms I’m introducing: benign PsF and malignant PsF. Fortunately, both Adobe Premiere CS5.5 and Apple Final Cut Pro X handle benign PsF (progressive segmented frame) automatically in the most desired way. Unfortunately, neither of these programs can handle malignant PsF properly. This means that -even with the latest software- it is your responsibility to avoid the multiple pitfalls of misinterpreting malignant PsF. You must be aware of it and take the necessary steps to counteract it. This article will cover Panasonic’s AVCHD/AVCCAM PsF status. Upcoming articles in this series will reveal the PsF status of other cameras and recorders, and the workflows & workarounds with popular editing software. Read More

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Mac Mini for pro video editing: a field report from Guatemala

Despite gloomy predictions from the naysayers, the Mac Mini beats the MacPro tower for video editing.

By Allan Tépper | October 18, 2011

Many readers of ProVideo Coalition magazine may recall my recent article Mac Mini w/Thunderbolt: preferred platform for many new editing systems. However, some of the readers had doubts, and one naysayer even dared to comment via LinkedIn: “This is hilarious garbage. No serious editor, in their right mind, would do this.” Another commenter via LinkedIn supposed that it would stand up for standard-definition video editing only, but would never work for HD 1080p editing. Fortunately, here is a detailed report from a very serious commercial production company in Guatemala, that has recently replaced two MacPro towers with Mac Mini i7 with Thunderbolt, together with a Thunderbolt RAID5 disk array, and a Thunderbolt-based professional audio/video i/o device. Here you’ll see the exact software and hardware configuration used, performance, and enthusiastic comments from the editor. On the other hand, you’ll even learn where not to use a Mac Mini.

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DaVinci Resolve training at Staff/HDTV in Guatemala

7 Guatemalans learn to color correct and more...

By Allan Tépper | October 08, 2011

I just returned from the Republic of Guatemala in Central America, where I interpreted a class for David Catt, the original product manager at DaVinci Systems. (Since then, DaVinci Systems was purchased in 2009 by Blackmagic Design). David Catt taught 7 Guatemalans how to perform grading, including color correction and more using DaVinci Resolve. The client who recently purchased the new Mac-based DaVinci Resolve system is Julio Borrayo, president of STAFF HDTV/Alta Definición, which produces high-end TV commercials in Guatemala. This article explains the details of the system they purchased (hardware + software), installation and preparation, main points covered in the class, and the students. David Catt has agreed to join us on an upcoming episode of TecnoTur to discuss grading and the differences between different DaVinci Resolve configurations.

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Blackmagic breaks Thunderbolt price budget with US$299 Intensity Extreme

The US$299 Intensity Extreme is the first bus-powered a/v Thunderbolt interface, although not the first bus-powered device.

By Allan Tépper | September 09, 2011

At IBC in Amsterdam, Blackmagic has just announced its second Thunderbolt audio/video i/o interface, the US$299 Intensity Extreme. For about 70% less in price than Blackmagic’s first Thunderbolt product, the Intensity Extreme is also the first bus-powered a/v Thunderbolt interface, although not the first bus-powered device (since Matrox’s Thunderbolt adapter is bus-powered, but it is not an audio/video interface itself, but the connection to one). When connected with a laptop (i.e. MacBook Air or MacBook Pro), the Intensity Extreme will be powered by the laptop’s internal battery via the Thunderbolt connection. This article will describe exactly what you’ll get -and what you won’t get- if you choose the US$299 Intensity Extreme interface from Blackmagic, and its availability.

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AJA announces Io XT interface with Thunderbolt at IBC in Amsterdam

AJA's Io XT is the first professional audio/video with a loopable Thunderbolt connection.

By Allan Tépper | September 09, 2011

Today AJA announced and is showing its new Io XT audio/video interface with Thunderbolt at IBC stand 7.F11 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Unlike other Thunderbolt-capable professional i/o interfaces from other manufacturers which I have covered earlier this week here in ProVideo Coalition magazine, the Io XT from AJA is the first and only one so far to offer loop-ability (aka “daisy-chaining”) to other Thunderbolt peripherals or even standard DVI/HDMI monitors via an inexpensive adapter or cable (under US$30 in most cases). This first look at AJA’s Io XT will cover its features, specs, and pricing.

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Matrox adds optional Thunderbolt connectivity to existing MXO2 family interfaces

By Allan Tépper | September 05, 2011

Matrox is the first (and so far, the only) manufacturer of professional audio/video interfaces to offer the possibility of adding Thunderbolt connectivity to any of their existing products which are already in the field. Matrox now offers this capability for any of the MXO2 family of interfaces, which currently include the MXO2 Mini, MXO2 LE, MXO2 (original), and MXO2 Rack. Since almost the beginning of the MXO2 family, all of the interfaces have been available either with (or without) Matrox’s Max option, which performs hardware-based accelerated H.264 encoding from within popular professional video editing and encoding applications, and with a choice of either PCIe or ExpressCard/34 interface to a host computer. As first shown at NAB 2011 and now delivering in September 2011, Thunderbolt is the third available option, allowing connection of any Thunderbolt-capable Mac. This article covers how this works, what it means, and what the upgrade will cost you (or the price of admission if you don’t yet own any MXO2 family interface). Read More

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Blackmagic delivers its first Thunderbolt-based i/o interface, the UltraStudio 3D

By Allan Tépper | September 05, 2011

Blackmagic Design has begun shipping its first Thunderbolt based audio/video i/o interface, which is officially known as the UltraStudio 3D. As its suffix indicates, it is capable of 3D stereoscopic workflows, although it is certainly capable of 2D workflows too. However, we must be diligent and refer to it with its full name (including the “3D” suffix) in order to differentiate it from other Blackmagic models whose names also begin with “UltraStudio”. This first look at the US$995 UltraStudio 3D will cover its features, specs, and even an initial limitation for HP DreamColor monitors, together with a somewhat costly workaround. You’ll also learn everything you need to know about the UltraStudio 3D’s end-point Thunderbolt connection and its current limitations. Read More

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Relief after Apple’s segregation of keyboards in the USA

By Allan Tépper | August 26, 2011

If you read my recent article Apple USA unfortunately segregates Mac Mini's keyboard options here in ProVideo Coalition magazine, you may now feel relief. After exploring multiple sources, I have fortunately located a USA-based company that is willing and able to offer both versions of the official Apple aluminum keyboards with the Spanish ISO layout. When I say "both versions", I mean both the wired (USB) version with numeric keyboard, and the wireless (Bluetooth) version without the numeric keyboard. Now Apple users in the USA who choose the Mac Mini and would like an official Apple Spanish keyboard (with which Apple USA does not currently offer any Spanish keyboard option) can order their desired keyboard from this company. Of course, this also applies if you want a replacement keyboard for your iMac or MacPro, or if you want an external keyboard for a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, regardless of whether the computer currently has a Spanish ISO or any other type of keymap, and regardless of whether you run your system in English (or in any other language).

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Roland QUAD-CAPTURE: the little sister of the OCTA-CAPTURE

Roland QUAD-CAPTURE: the little sister of the OCTA-CAPTURE

By Allan Tépper | August 24, 2011

ProVideo Coalition readers who are into audio gadgets probably read my recent full review about the OCTA-CAPTURE from Roland. This article is about the OCTA-CAPTURE’s little sister, the QUAD-CAPTURE, and covers the differences between the two units, as well as its relative preamp and ADC (analog>digital conversion) quality compared with similar devices. Both of the two sisters connect to a computer via USB. One of the first things you’ll notice is that the QUAD-CAPTURE’s name insinuates more microphone inputs than it really has. Read More

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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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