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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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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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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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