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December 17, 2012

On 48fps

I got the opportunity to see The Hobbit this week in mini-IMAX, 48fps 3D, and I think I’ve figured out what I both love and hate about this new format.

First, my take is that some of it works beautifully at 48fps. The scenes with Gollum make him look so incredibly real, I half expected him to come out at the end of the screen and answer questions from the audience. He’s actually there in every scene – no hint of being a digital character.

But, some of it doesn’t work well. Too often, there are scenes that pull you completely out of the moment. People have described it as “suddenly watching Masterpiece Theatre from 1978″ or “everything looks fake,” but no one can put their finger on why. I think I figured it out.

Camera motion.

I felt most immersed in the 3d and the movie when the camera was static. Simple cuts between shots allowed my brain to process what was going on, and made me feel like I was standing, watching the action unfold. And it looked beautiful. But, as soon as a jib arm or dolly began making my point-of-view float away, something deep in my brain called BS on everything. Suddenly, the magnificent Shire looked like nothing more than a well-crafted set. I suddenly knew I was looking through a camera lens on a jib arm at a set in a sound stage. That’s what people are trying to articulate here – the experience, made using film techniques developed for 24p, aren’t going to work the same in the hyper-real world of 48p. It’s going to need to develop a language and style all its own, and that’s going to take time. Just as 3D requires a language, and even B&W and Color require different tools and techniques, this new world of High Frame Rate (HFR) will require a re-learning of filmmaking techniques to make it go. And I think we need to start looking at how we move the camera. I think it necessitates a “reality” perspective on the scene. What we think of as “high production value” at 24p (cranes, jibs, dollys) work against us at 48p. And, we associate it with videotaped shows of the 1970’s because that’s where we first saw it.

We may also have to revisit set dressing, making the sets as absolutely “real” as possible. Maybe, maybe not.

BTW – the 3D on this film was flawless. Beautiful. You don’t even think about it.

I want to see the movie in 2D, 24p as well, just to compare and contrast. I’ve seen on Twitter that at 24p, there’s motion blur, and it looks like a “normal” movie.

December 13, 2012

4k presets for Adobe Media Encoder

I was asked the other day when Adobe will offer a 4k output from the H.264 encoder. The answer is simple – it’s there today!
Currently, the Media Encoder (and, by association, Premiere Pro) doesn’t ship with presets for 4k H.264 output, simply because it’s not a common enough format. But it’s reasonably simple to make your own.
I won’t go into all the details of H.264 encoding here, but the key thing to know is that the encoder settings include something called Profile and Level. These settings set limits for what type of file you can create.

I’ve created some sample presets for you to play with – these use a really small bit rate, so you may want to tinker with the quality some and make your own presets accordingly, but these will get you started.

Click here to get ‘em:
4k Presets

Install them in Adobe Media Encoder by going to the Preset Browser, and clicking the button to Import Presets:

September 23, 2012

Edit Original – a “long lost” feature for Premiere Pro / After Effects workflows

We have a tendency to talk a lot about the benefits of the Dynamic Link function between Premiere Pro and After Effects, and it is a crazy cool feature. The first time you drop a comp from AE right onto the Premiere Pro timeline, without rendering it – well, it’s awe-inspiring.

Dynamic Link works by creating a sort of “frame server” in the background, and it serves up the AE comp frames into the Premiere Pro timeline. It works great for stuff you’ve RAM Previewed, or for smaller comps, like animated text.

But what about longer comps? Dynamic Link starts to break down a bit when comps get really complicated, or are longer than a few seconds (actual time depends on resolution and amount of RAM.) Let’s say I have a 5 minute comp in AE. Can I expect that to RAM Preview? Probably not. And you shouldn’t expect it to play real-time in Premiere Pro either. So, what to do?

Well, you could render a proxy in AE, or you could render the comp in Premiere Pro. These methods are viable, but not always the fastest.

There’s actually a workflow designed for situations like this, and it’s been around for so long, we tend not to talk about it enough. It’s called the Edit Original workflow. It works like this:

Create your comp in AE. When you’ve roughed it out enough to drop it into your edit, add it to the Render Queue.

In the Output Module, make sure the box is checked to Include Project Link, as shown below:

Make sure this box is checked.

Render out the file.

Now, in Premiere Pro, import the rendered file, and begin editing. You can close AE at this point, and just focus on editorial.

If/when you need to make changes to the comp, right-click on it in the Premiere timeline, and choose Edit Original:

Edit Original.

Premiere Pro will automatically launch After Effects, load the project file and comp that the clip came from. It’ll even place a new item in the Render Queue with the same pathing and name as the original file, so that, if you want to just replace the old media with the new, it’ll happen automatically. That way, your Premiere Pro timeline will update with the new media automatically.

(If you prefer to keep the original render, and make a new render, just append the file name – add an “02” to the name of the item in the render queue. You will need to import the new media into Premiere Pro, and option-replace the older clip. Or, to compare versions, stack it over the original clip in the timeline, and toggle the new clip on/off.)

This is the recommended workflow when dealing with long comps in AE, and it’s a handy workflow to be aware of – no hunting for the project file, no hunting for the source media, etc. As great as Dynamic Link is, it’s good to understand this option as well.

Special Thanks to Jon Barrie, who reminded me of this functionality while on the CS6 Road show in Australia this summer. Check out Jon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jon_adobe

July 23, 2012

Melbourne Video Track Details

Hi all!

I’m really excited to be in Melbourne for the very first time! Tomorrow is going to be a fantastic day, with a full day’s breakout session around the Pro Video tools. If you’re joining us, don’t worry – you won’t miss Photoshop. We’ll be rejoining the main presentation for the Photoshop demos at the end of the day.

The Schedule looks like this:

8.30am – 9.00am Registration and Showcase Visit
9.00am – 9.45am Welcome and Main Keynote
9.45am – 9.50am Announcement of Video breakout + Exit
9.50am – 10.20am Morning tea break/Partner booth visit
10.20am – 12.00pm Video Breakout – Premiere Pro in-depth
12.00pm – 1.00pm Lunch*
1.00pm – 2.30pm – Production Premium; showcasing the whole workflow.
2.30pm – 3.00pm Coffee Break/ Partner booth visit
3.00pm – 3.30pm Rejoin: Photoshop Tips and Tricks
3.30pm – 4.00pm Top feature Shootout
4.00pm – 4.10pm Closing + Lucky Draw

Register here: http://adoberegoready.com/cs6roadshow/index.php?v=Melbourne

 

Sydney is coming up Thursday! More details here: http://www.adobe.com/au/special/cs6roadshow/?sdid=JYNQE&skwcid=TC|22732|adobe%20cs6%20roadshow||S|b|15120985864

July 23, 2012

New AAF Importer up on Labs.

At Adobe, we believe in the concept of open, unfettered workflows. This means that you should be able to pick and choose between a wide range of tools. While we always strive for creating a world-class series of applications, we also understand that real-world pipelines don’t always use one set of tools from one vendor.

For this reason, Adobe is always striving for better compatibility between our video tools and other applications using exchange formats. In CS6, we included something called Pro Importer AE with After Effects. This featured AAF and XML file import direct into After Effects CS6, with some nice options how to relink files.

In an effort to bring improved support in Premiere Pro CS6, Adobe now has an AAF Importer available for Premiere Pro 6.01, which has a number of improvements to the existing AAF support.

Release notes and downloader here:  http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/aafimport/

Currently, we need testing of this on the Mac platform, and this preview release is only available for Mac Users, but as always, keep checking Labs (and this space) for additional information in the future.

It’s VERY important that we get feedback from real-world users and understand your needs for Avid-Adobe workflows, so if you download this preview, please please please participate in the Labs Forum. The more we hear from you, the better we can make this interop technology work.

Labs forum here:  http://forums.adobe.com/community/labs/aafimport/

July 12, 2012

Testing, 1,2,3… Is this thing on?

I’ve been living in Singapore for over a year now, and still unpacking stuff out of boxes! This blog was hiding at the bottom of my shipping crate – glad to finally get back to jt, and start writing again. stay tuned – lots to say in the coming weeks.

September 21, 2011

ProRes Codecs now a free download

Apple has released the ProRes Codecs as a free download for Mac QuickTime here:

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1396

No word on a compressor for Windows, however.

UPDATE: These codecs still require an Apple Pro app installed to work. Cheapest option is still to get Compressor or Motion from the App Store for about $50. If the codecs are installed, Adobe apps can output ProRes.

September 20, 2011

FREE Color grading tutorials and presets for Premiere Pro

Jarle Leirpoll just posted some wonderful new assets for Premiere Pro here:

http://premierepro.net/editing/color-grading-and-finishing-in-premiere-pro-cs5-5/

His presets provide simple drag-and-drop effects for common grading and finishing needs for your video. Well worth a download! And, since they use the GPU-accelerated effects, they are REAL-TIME on a system with a supported GPU. No waiting to render.

Highly recommended. Get them today.

September 16, 2011

On the release of Star Wars on Blu-Ray

Rarely do I use this forum for personal editorializing, but on this day, as Star Wars is finally released on a home HD format, I need to bring two quotes to everyone’s attention:

‎”People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians.”
–George Lucas, 1988, Address to Congress on preserving classic films–

“No. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
–Darth Vader, 2011, new dialogue near the end of Return of the Jedi, new Blu-Ray edition–

That’s all I have to say on the matter.

September 14, 2011

Interlaced ProRes users! Take Note!

Walter Biscardi recently blogged about an issue he ran into during a Premiere Pro to Apple Color workflow, and I want to relink to it here. There is an extra step in the output process when working with interlaced footage to be aware of – the ProRes codec has an extra panel that needs to be set for Interlaced outside of the normal Media Encoder settings. For more information, see Walter’s post here: http://www.biscardicreative.com/blog/2011/09/transitioning-big-premiere-pro-interlace-gotcha-on-export/

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