Splice Vine Links #14 04/04/10

iPhone App

Panavision, a 50+ year old manufacturer of motion picture/TV cameras, just rolled out its first iPhone app, Panascout, which simulates the cinematographer’s viewpoint from a professional cinema camera.  The filmmaker can capture the cinematic qualities of any location and record the true metadata, including GPS, compass heading, date/time, voice notes and a sunrise/sunset readout for the present location. Photos can be framed in 2.40 (anamorphic), 1.85 (Super 35mm), 1.78 (16×9 HD) and 1.33 (4×3) aspect ratios with Panaframe. The captured images and metadata can be uploaded directly to Final Cut Pro with Final Cut Server, MobileMe, SmugMug or emailed to colleagues. I assume the iPad version will be out any week now.  The question is how much will it costs?  The iPhone version already costs a whopping $10.




Innovation



As we get closer to the looming  CS5 announcement, it becomes increasingly clear that Adobe Premiere is gunning for Final Cut Pro.  Thank you.  Please keep the pressure on Apple to keep developing FCP and the rest of the Apple pro apps.  And even though Premiere may not have the best GUI in the editing world they are definitely starting to look gorgeous on the inside.  Back in December I talked about how Adobe’s Mercury Playback Engine was poised to be a game changer.  What is it?  Creative Cow describes it by saying: Essentially, Adobe has redesigned their entire video rendering and playback engine to harness the NVIDIA CUDA parallel processing architecture of Quadro graphics processing units (GPUs). The result is a fluid, real-time editing experience for adding additional effects, multiple layers, or ultra high resolution content. No more wasting time waiting for things like Encoding and Exporting progress bars to slowly fill the box. Adobe has posted a sneak peak video that shows the technology in action.  In this video an editor is cutting very fast with notoriously difficult Native AVCHD footage. Very impressive stuff.  I also found a post on the Pro Video Coalition blog Debunking Mercury Myths. There are still many obstacles though for deep market penetration.  Users will only be able to use the new engine on late-model Intel Macs, running Snow Leopard and with a $1500 NVIDIA graphics card inside.  Most people aren’t lucky enough to have this configuration yet and with the economy still down, it may be a while before people are able to upgrade.



Advocacy

 

Of all the things that Avatar launched – from renewed interest in 3D to virtual actors – one issue that has received the least amount of press has been it’s role in advocacy for VFX artists. On Feb. 5 VFX artist Lee Stranahan wrote an open letter to James Cameron in the hope that he would use his Oscar platform to speak out about the injustices in the VFX industry. Unfortunately, Avatar lost the major awards it was up for and Cameron did not have a chance to speak.  But that has not stopped Stranahan from moving forward by calling attention to the many problems facing the VFX industry.  He organized a VFX Townhall with a panel that included representatives from artistic, facility and studio camps.  It was very informative and Motionographer has posted a recap and links. FX Guide’s Jeff Heusser analyzes how the townhall went and possible solutions have already surfaced.   A Blog to discuss the formation of a VFX digital artists guild has even been started.  But what has been the most illuminating information so far is a post by industry VFX veteran Scott Squires on his blog Effects Corner.  In it, he gives detailed insider information that reveals the complex issues and huge challenges that face the industry.  What lies ahead will undoubtedly be a lot of hand-ringing over changing extremely entrenched practices and heading off new threats to the stability of the VFX industry – namely outsourcing.  Improvements in network infrastructure and aggressive tax incentives have decentralized the production of VFX and has become a hot button topic everywhere.  The comments posted to Creative Cow’s article on World Sourcing by Golden Compass post-supervisor Mike Fink show how intense this debate has become.  I’ll keep you posted on ongoing developments.  In the meantime, if you are a freelancer you may want to check out the Thinking Animation Blog that posted a good article on Protecting Yourself as Freelancer.  According to fxdag.org it’s a good basic primer for how Employers of Record work.

Bits

Use this script to create a quickFX palette for After Effects

10 Clever Screen Recording Tools for the Mac.  I use (and love) Snapz Pro X.

Last Pass is a password manager that lets you create one password to rule them all.


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