May 31, 2007

Enhanced photogrammetry

Mark Christiansen posted a great video and background info on high-res photogrammetry applied to enhance video resolution and exposure (as shown above), as well as object touch-ups and removal. It would be great to see these sort of advances in further versions of Photoshop's Vanishing Point tool, along with camera mapping and other 3D features.

You can view additional examples of photogrammetry used today at Studio Daily on Zodiac, Paul Devebec's site (PDF), RealViz, and DV Garage's Brain Dump Series: Photogrammetry.

Max2AE plugin

If you're interested in Autodesk 3D Studio, you might want to check out Alan Shisko's post -- and video tutorial -- about the 2.0 version of Boomerlabs' Max2AE plugin that integrates 3dsMax cameras, lights and layers with AE.

Gates: NOT Fake Steve Jobs

Engadget has the scoop on Steve Jobs and Bill Gates sharing a stage; 7-part video at Wall Street Journal:

Update: the talk is now on iTunes too.

Silverlight, meet Google Gears

There may be no end to Microsoft's ambition, to borrow a phrase from the BBC, and that includes the future of the web. Or Internet 2 if you will. I'm not really sure how Silverlight is different from JavaFX, Ajax, and Flash/Apollo, but content controls would have to be developed on Windows even if Windows servers are not required.

As John Dowdell notes (see also his links): "MS servers are one thing, but it's likely more important MS eventually ends up as the advertising channel, and gains personalization data for that app's audience -- a server they can sell today; a service they can sell tomorrow."

Of course there's no assurance that Google is different! They weren't able to get the neocon Dan Senor from the Carlyle Group for communications, but they did get someone from the Council on Foreign Relations/The Gap. Success will probably only be achieved by
promoting actual market economies and democratic politics rather than in the approaches on which the American elites rely (listen to Chalmers Johnson). Anyway it looks like Google Gears (Scoble video) might help get Adobe aligned, as the counter-assault on MS Office readies.

May 30, 2007

Microsoft Surface≠Minority Report

flashpoint (Ian Kennedy's blog on social media marketing) mentioned the Popular Mechanics video of Microsoft's Multitouch in Microsoft Surface, Minority Report realized.

Update: Last month Microsoft researcher Eric Horvitz demonstrated technologies (CNET video) that use hand gestures to manipulate data and a box that beams to turn any surface into a display.

Nordine: the voice of 'Kiki'

Toolfarm posted "Warp 11 with Kiki," a Video Toaster infomercial which showcases NAB legend Kiki Stockhammer. But the mysterious part for me was the narrator. It was Ken Nordine, the still kicking Beat word jazz guy who did a record with Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, and Tom Waits in the 90's.

Murch's music of the spheres

One page on Walter Murch always seems to pop up in Google, this time when I was trying to find the name of his choice content management, the PIX System.

It's The Heliocentric Pantheon: An Interview with Walter Murch, on the Building Blog of all places. This interview discusses Murch's observations on the similarities between the Pantheon, the ratio of planetary orbits, and musical scales. Obscure but cool.

There's much more of Murch out there at Murch film at SFIF, Fog City Mavericks,,, Freshdv, SF Cutters, and Walter Murch Fan Site.

May 29, 2007

Matt Silverman @ SF Cutters Wednesday

The SF Cutters Final Cut Pro User Group
is meeting Wednesday May 30th, 2007 @ DV Garage 785 Market 2nd Floor, San Francisco. Doors open at 6:30 pm $5 at the door; please RSVP.

resentations by Matt Silverman, Creative Director at Phoenix Editorial; Phil Smith, FileMaker; Ed McDermid Pilotware; Kenjo Kato and Rafael Rivera "Border Town."

Future Shock

Things are moving quick in online video, and at first stumbling on Clark And Michael I thought they were serious, and I'm still not sure what it is, except it's connected to CBS. Even that wasn't clear at 1st since some WHOIS results leave you with the impression it's a regular GoDaddy domain instead of a CBS-hosted thing.

ReelPop clears up the story. Other sites that clarify the online video scene include Beet.TV and Lost Remote, as well as the more familiar CinemaTech and NewTeeVee.

Future Shock seems almost quaint now:

May 28, 2007

The Long Take

The Long Take runs down "The Greatest Long Tracking Shots in Cinema" with commentary and clips, going way beyond peeks at Touch of Evil and The Player. (via)

Red Giant video intros

If you're thinking about checking out Red Giant Software filters, they have quick-start video tutorials for Knoll Light Factory, Magic Bullet Colorista, Instant HD, Key Correct Pro, and the Trapcode products.

High-Precision YUV and FCP's RGB Limit filter

In The DV Rebel's Guide, Stu Maschwitz made recommendations for output quality for high-end projects in Final Cut, showing methods for preserving superwhite highlight detail in Final Cut by reducing opacity of a clip over black slug. Trish and Chris Meyer mentioned an additional method in DV Magazine using the Color Corrector 3-way Auto White Level switch.

Last week Apple added another approach, posting a new article for FCS2, "Final Cut Pro: FxPlug - Working with high RGB values in High-Precision YUV" (Article ID: 305548). Here's Apple's recommendation:

"Many FxPlug filters in Final Cut Pro and Motion are able to generate very high RGB values, even extending beyond the gamut of traditional video. When these values are converted from their native RBG color space to the YUV color space in a High-Precision YUV sequence, the results will be mathematically accurate, but due to differences in the available values between these color spaces, it's possible for the result to appear differently than intended.

The RGB Limit filter can be used accommodate this color space difference. In this context, the following steps demonstrate how to apply the RGB Limit filter to a clip to achieve the desired result:

  1. Double-click the clip in the Timeline so that it appears in the Viewer.
  2. Choose Effects > Video Filters > Color Correction > RGB Limit.
  3. In the Viewer's Filter tab, make the following settings in the RGB Limit filter:
    • Select the Minimum RGB Limiting check box.
    • Set the Clamp Levels Below parameter to 0%.
    • Select the Maximum RGB Limiting check box.
    • Set the Clamp Levels Above parameter to 100%.
    • Deselect the Max RGB Reduction check box."

May 25, 2007

The Inner Light

Take 25 with "The Inner Light," one of the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (via TV Links)

May 24, 2007

Lifehacker webcam tips

Lifehacker tips help me shove off free tech support requests from friends. Here's a recent reference via Lifehackers that helped: Strobist's How to Improve Your Cheapo Webcam's Picture Quality.

These Lifehacker tags are handy: DVD, DVDs, Video, Digital Video.

Update: for improving sound see Chris Meyer's Simple Soundproofing.

May 21, 2007

After Effects Compositing in Hollywood

FreshDV notes 2 MacBreak video podcasts (#36 & #61 from early '07) on the movie “Conversation With Other Women” in After Effects Compositing in Hollywood.

YouTube<>AppleTV Hack

CinemaTech reports that "AppleTV users will be able to watch a selection of YouTube's most-viewed and most-discussed videos on AppleTV..." via Ars Technica and Wired.

I don't have an Apple TV box, but it doesn't seem all that easy so far. I can't tell how the ATVFiles browser plugin (plays video files without transcoding and syncing/streaming them) is different from the "A Series of Tubes" plug-in. To explore what is going on under the hood of the Apple TV, check out Apple TV Hacker and AwkwardTV Wiki.

HD For Indies has further "Thoughts on HDTV DVD playback - AppleTV, uprezzing DVD player, or HD DVD player."

Update 2: On May 30 Steve Jobs demoed Flash on Apple TV which should be available as a free update in June; see Apple TV and YouTube, together at last and Macworld on All Things Digital.

HDMI -- or not

For the tech-lazy like me...Mike Curtis at HD for Indies has commentary on and a link to an Audioholics article, What's the Matter with HDMI?

May 18, 2007

Mystery killer that you saw on channel 4

Careful with that axe Eugene. Don't try to swallow "Lady Marmalade" by Labelle (or whoever) rushing for an upgrade, but first check in with a dose of the party scene in Jacob's Ladder.

ArsTechnica reports DRM cracked before release

see FreshDV's "Crack To The Future - AACS Revision Preemtively Hacked"

IndyMogul leverages low tech FX

IndyMogul could use The DV Rebel's Guide and has a blog too; this from NewTeeVee:

"Can’t afford a team of digital animators to create special effects for your online video project? Don’t have the necessary permits to fire weapons on set? Is your movie good, but could it possibly be better with, say, a scene where the hero escapes from his nemesis on the wings of a bitchin’ jet pack? Then you need to check out Backyard FX from Indy Mogul.

The newest project out of New York-based New New Networks, Indy Mogul was announced earlier this week. It’s kind of like MAKE magazine, but geared toward the independent filmmaking set."

Visual Communicator prerelease on Adobe Labs

Adobe Visual Communicator 3 is a prerelease of the Windows-only Serious Magic consumer tool for video blogging, and "offers hundreds of customizable graphics, music and special effects to create video presentations that look like a television newscast." Adobe has a presentation on the product site.

May 17, 2007

Editors' Reactions to Apple Color

from Terence Curren on videos from the latest AlphaDogs' Editors' Lounge: "Apple wouldn't let Studio Daily shoot the demos, but there is a demo from NAB and interviews with several end users."

Paint/Clone on Movies in PS: new AE blog

I still think that video in Photoshop wasn't the best investment Adobe could have made -- why rebuild AE in Photoshop and leave AE's paint, tracking, and masking to languish years behind the features of a long dead app like Commotion (!) -- but what can you do?

Update: I guess I think that Photoshop Extended should really be After Effects. Making Photoshop a paint module window inside AE seems better than rebuilding PS so that it does what AE does.

The good news is there's another AE blog from Adobe, Steve Whatley's After Effects Cookbook, "From beginner to Advanced, I focus on After Effects' 3D side, 3D application integration, 3rd party plug-ins, and Workflow!" Steve's 1st post is Paint/Clone on Movies in Photoshop Tip.

Encore CS3 and Blu-ray on new Adobe blog

Dave Helmly, an Business Development Manager, has published his first entry on his blog, DAV's TechTable. According to The Genesis Project, Dave's video blog will be focusing on hardware and technology. This time out, there's an in-depth discussion on Working with Encore CS3 and Blu-ray.

PV Feather, per-vertex feathering plugin for AE

RE:Vision Effects released a per-vertex feathering plugin for AE, called PV Feather. The "PV" stands for "per vertex" and the filter performs feathering by using an inner mask for filling, and an outer mask for feather control. The distance between the inside and outside mask controls the amount, with an option to use ReelSmart Motion Blur instead of AE's multiple time sampling method. There's also a demo version for Mac and Windows available.

Internet video tagging

Sure Adobe Remix is cool, but others like Jumpcut got to that idea before. What's needed more is integration of metadata tags, a nontrivial issue which is increasingly attracting investment according to alarm:clock and Mashable.

Ok, it's dying out but with Google video you can tag an URL to go to a specific time (or even add subtitles), for example to access starting at 1 min 26 sec, add
#1m26s to the URL. The embed tag would work like this according to Simple Thoughts: [like this sorta] embed FlashVars="initialTime=2171".

YouTube Thumbnail

There's a Squidoo post about changing the poster frame of a YouTube video (the middle frame), which was mentioned briefly by Web Video Doctor in 5 Tips to Increase Your Video Views.

Will Video for Food adds: "I actually work hard to ensure that my center frame is representative of the video since I know how important that thumbnail is to views. It’s a shame YouTube doesn’t allow creators to select their frame like Revver and Metacafe facilitate."

May 16, 2007

A Few Shape Presets

Jean Hauptman, a blast from the CoSA AE AOL forum past, contributes notes on Shape Layers in AE8 (or AE CS3 if you prefer) along with a few Shape presets.

Ninja on training

Ko Maruyama blogs on 4 mostly new training products for After Effects.

May 15, 2007

Adobe Media Player previews

Deeje Cooley and Mike Chambers both have new videos on the upcoming Adobe Media Player (AMP, codenamed Philo), which is not quite yet available on Adobe Labs (unless you're a developer). If you watch on Mike Chamber's, the little button on the right of the timebar lets you watch fullscreen.

Update: AMP's ability to overlay and insert interactive ads seems favored now that marketers are seeing
that the paid video download market is a dead end.

...and earlier from
John Dowdell on comparisons to Joost:

'Anil Gupte has a short post [and more now fixating on Joost -ry] showing some of the differences from other video projects: reliance on live peer-to-peer connection, and fixed schedules of particular centralized content, like cable TV, are some of the key points he mentions. The upcoming Adobe Media Player (FAQ, video) differs in a number of significant ways, including more control for viewers, more control for creators, more choice for advertisers. Both are currently described by the phrase "desktop video player", but I think that as we get closer in we'll see how these basic decisions affect the different ways each initiative can evolve.'

May 13, 2007

Magic Bullet Deartifacting VS Chroma Blur (PAL)

from Miltos Pilalitos' blog
Eye Candy:

"Discussing about 4:2:0 colour sampling recently, I realized that there is still the misconception that Magic Bullet's deartifacting tool is a fancy name for chroma blur. Well, it definitely isn't. It might be difficult to see the difference just by looking at a frame but there is a way to demonstrate very clearly what each tool does." ...see the full article at Eye Candy.

May 12, 2007

Veoh: multiple videos in one player

Check out the cool upgraded Veoh embedded player (seriesplayer_embedded2.swf) that Robert Greenwald uses elsewhere, which lets you embed multiple videos (Series, Channels, Favorites, etc.) in one player.

The milk of human kindness

Robert Greenwald, director of Iraq for Sale, has put together a promo to help victims of war in honor of the meaning behind Mother's Day:

from The Mother's Day for Peace...

In 1914 the US declared our first national Mother's Day, as a day to show the flag in honor of mothers whose sons had died in war.

'Did you know that originally, way back in 1870, Mother's Day was envisioned as a time for women to come together and unite for peace? When we discovered this, it became clear that the time was perfect to put together a piece highlighting Julia Ward Howe's original and inspirational Mother's Day proclamation, which declared, "We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

Julia Ward Howe was a poet, writer and activist who fought vigilantly for peace, the abolition of slavery, and women's rights. In 1860, she penned the Battle Hymn of The Republic ["where the grapes of wrath are stored"] to inspire Union soldiers fighting in the war, but the horrors of the war later moved her to campaign tirelessly for peace. She served as president of the American branch of the Women's International Peace Association, and in 1870 she wrote her Mother's Day Proclamation.'

May 11, 2007

Information Anxiety

I used to read Search Engine Watch but got bored. That's changed because Read/WriteWeb (a Web 2.0 blog) made search engines interesting with regular lists. Sure Google destroyed Altavista and now rules, but they're not that strong on information design and will have to innovate like everyone else to be able to filter the explosion of multimedia, location, and other information now available. It's not just a matter of semantics.

Not incidentally Read/WriteWeb also has a good post on Mozilla and the future of the browser, which looks at recent presos from Mozilla designers, as well as commentators concerned with an open web and stuff in the works from Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, Sun, etc. This really is a concern because of neocon Rupert Murdoch's News Corpse statements about further consolidation by the oligarchs: Peter Chernin and the Time Warner CEO weren't talking about Dow Jones/WSJ but Google, Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon.

Free Glow filter training by CyberMotion

Studio Daily and Toolfarm are both selling online AE training modules by well-known After Effects experts Chris and Trish Meyer of CyberMotion that "are designed to jump-start your creativity as well as quickly get you up to speed on important technical aspects of motion graphics and video. These are not just paint-by-numbers recipes; Chris and Trish make sure you have a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts so that you can easily modify the techniques to your own projects."

So far there is a Technical Track (Understanding Fields & Interlacing, Working With 3:2 Pulldown) and a Motion Graphics Project Studio track (Learning the Glow Plug-in, Creating that "Instant Sex" Look with composite modes, Lighting Tricks, Hot Looks Using Floating Point). The 2 movies on the Glow filter are free.

Ruling Documentaries

Truefilm (by Jim Feeley, pictured below) discusses some aspects of Fair Use for documentaries, while All these wonderfuls things (pictured above) discusses a controversy over Oscar rules for docs in a series of posts in April and May (via FreshDV).

And Repent, for The Shopocalypse is near!

May 9, 2007

Widescreen Mask, free AE filter

Amber Visual is launching their new AE filter Halide: Film Look System and trying to get your attention away from the market/price leader with free Windows-only AE plugins. The 1st in a promised series is Widescreen Mask, to be followed by Compression/Artifact Supressor, Broadcast Legaliser, and others. To get these you're supposed to sign up for a newsletter, but I just get a Microsoft VBScript error.

They also seem to have a filter set in the works called Video Basics.

May 8, 2007

Faith-Based Dining. Is it safe?

According to Spocko's Brain, the chickens are coming home to roast -- and those chickens, swine, and fish maybe tainted with melamine, a protein additive derived from coal, and cyanuric acid.

It's not just that melamine was added to wheat and rice gluten and then to pet food -- but melamine was added to wheat flour, and it's safe according to the spin at the FDA. It's a question of how safe is safe enough when you let children enjoy Faith-Based Dining (that's an overview article at Salon). While the experts may denigrate the layman perception of risk, the public knows that facts are
sometimes judgments in drag disguise.

oh yeah...the additives originated in China, who holds a bunch of the bank notes holding up our economy.

HD for Indies workstations

HD for Indies has partnered with Silverado Systems to deliver 4 configs of Final Cut workstations for uncompressed HD editing, all based on his DV Mag article, Build Your Own HD Workstation.

May 7, 2007

A Live TV Studio In Your Browser

Live Streaming that ‘Just Works’...from NewTeeVee:

'Veodia’s recently released streaming-video software is easy to use. Really easy. We’re talking plug-and-play easy. Plug your DV camera into your computer and put it in record mode. Log into and hit “new broadcast.” And you’re live. Instantly. And when you’re done, you hit stop and the video you’ve just streamed is available on demand through your favorite RSS feeder. Instantly. And it works.' the rest at NewTeeVee.

Battling business graphics

Battling for mindshare for animating business graphics in AE are Digital Anarchy's Data Animator filter set and Zakwerks gun Alan Shisko, who explains how to convert animating vertical bars to a pie chart with Polar Coordinates (Rect to Polar) and enhance it in 3D with Zaxwerks filters.

Harry Franks shows you another way with Radial Wipe in Expression Based Pie Charts
(thumbnail above). Dan Ebberts and Mylenium (line charts) have posted similar ideas with expressions or XML (as in Flash and AE8). And there's a 3D Chart function in Boris RED, and yet another filter for Windows called MovingChart. Finally, Dean Velez has a free chart lesson on growing pillars.

Update: Fusion Charts at Google makes animated Flash charts for free (sorta useful); Digital Inspiration mentions a few others too.

Color Listing

There's been another good discussion of Apple's new app Color, as well as finishing and weaknesses, in Final Cut Studio on the Final Cut Pro-List (starting from the bottom), with more specifics of Color and how Color could effect the DV Rebel workflow. The Premiere team should be paying attention too.

Floating in the discussion, Steve Hullfish announced an e-mail list for Color called ColorList.

May 2, 2007

Could Digg Revolt Come to Video Sites?

NewTeeVee reports on the Digg user revolt against HD-DVD copy protection censors: "unhappy with the company’s compliance with a DMCA takedown request on the codes to break HD-DVD encryption, flooded and overwhelmed the social news site with stories containing the code, until its front page was filled entirely with references to the hack (visualization embedded below). Digg, whose premise is based on not controlling what happens on its site, capitulated last night..."

There's a Digg Swarm video of user activity as seen live from Digg Labs according to lorien1973: "In the first part of the video, the big dots are stories being submitted. The yellow dots that attach to them are people "digging" the stories. You can see the diggers disappear along with the stories as Digg deletes them."

Update: the latest on this item is available on Wired's Epicenter.

O'Reilly name-calls once every 7 seconds

from Jim Romenesko:
An Indiana University study finds that Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly calls a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night. "It's obvious he's very big into calling people names, and he's very big into glittering generalities," says IU j-prof Mike Conway. "He's not very subtle. He's going to call people names, or he's going to paint something in a positive way, often without any real evidence to support that viewpoint."

Also from The Poynter Institute, this time the design/graphics aggregator, EyeTrack07: The Myth of Short Attention Spans and addenda.

Adobe Media Player video

Drew Keller, a Microsoft employee, has a blog with Flash video of his NAB tour which has good footage of Adobe Media Player (the last third of the video). He also points out that the new Apple 4:2:2 codec won't be available to every app, and of course he wasn't impressed by Apple's offerings. He also heard no mention of Windows Media at NAB! (via)

information aesthetics

information aesthetics has some nice posts and links on data visualization & visual design.

ONEWORD - 2006
through information aesthetics.

Also interesting is Interfaces That Flow: Transitions as Design Elements., which wants to "create more engaging product user experiences by learning from" the makers of music, film, television, and video games.

PS CS3 Extended tutorials

Russell Brown posted tutorials on Photoshop CS3 Extended, including tips and techniques for blending and compositing 3D objects with photographs (the sea monster is downloadable), exporting 3D objects from Vanishing Point, and Adobe Illustrator Smart Object Animation. But wait there's more -- like 20 tutorials on CS3 that are also available as iTunes podcasts.

Coleman Keyframes

Michael Coleman, the product manager for Adobe After Effects, has a new blog called Keyframes. (Via)

Vanishing Point in AE

In Instant Dimentionality Bob Donlon explains a great new feature in AE8 which uses the .vpe file from Photoshop's Vanishing Point tool to define the perspective of a scene or object.

The Nature of Order

Christopher Alexander, Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, has had much to say about design, complexity, and order. In The Luminous Ground: The Nature of Order, Book4: he says:
My hypothesis is this. That all value depends on a structure in which each center, the life of each center, approaches this simple, forgotten, remembered, unremembered "I." That in the living work, each living center really is a connection to this "I."
I wouldn't agree that this "I" exists in ephemeral matter, but his thought is challenging, and perhaps useful to more than just architects and programmers. Not many academics would dare attempt trying to find the face of God and build to infuse experiences of unity.

Among Alexander's admirable works are A City is not a Tree parts I & II (a classic on city planning and real networks), New Concepts In Complexity Theory: A Scientific Introduction to the Concepts in the Nature of Order, and A Foreshadowing of 21st Century Art (on Anatolian carpets; his collection was shown at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco in 1990).