Seriously . . .

Just returned from a few weeks of filming in several geographically disparate locations (and thus feeding my ever-increasing sense of an airline cabin being my “home away from home”). One of the things I love about my job is that despite the fact that I do Marketing I still get to produce stuff, and this time I got to shoot with some of the new tools that recently came into the Adobe fold. On October 19, when I was on said shoot, we announced that we’d acquired a software company called Serious Magic (read the full press release here). Their two products of main interest to me, and probably most of you, are DV Rack and Ultra. I haven’t had the chance to use Ultra yet, it’s a keying and virtual set technology, but I did use DV Rack extensively the past few weeks both on location and in the studio.

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Using DV Rack to monitor camera signal and capture direct to hard disc.

DV Rack has software versions of the scopes & meters that you’d have in a studio (e.g. Waveform and Vectorscopes) and by taking the signal from your camera via FireWire into your computer, you can easily adjust your camera’s iris, white balance, etc to get the best possible quality by reading the scopes & meters or using a wizard-like calibration tool. This is good stuff, since it helps improve the quality of what you’re shooting.

DV Rack is also a direct-to-disc DVR (Digital Video Recorder) that captures direct from your camera to hard-drive making for an inexpensive and powerful tapeless workflow. It can capture DV, HDV, DVCPro50 and DVCProHD. On the studio shoot in the photo above, I captured DVCProHD live from an HVX200, which I then opened in After Effects to make sure we had a clean chroma-key. When we were on location, I used DV Rack to grab shots using the video tap from our main camera for use in Premiere Pro (no that wasn’t a typo — a “video tap” is a signal that comes straight off a film or video camera for on-set monitoring, and in this case simultaneous capture).

And (if you hadn’t already noticed in the photo) I did this running Windows XP on my MacBook Pro. Bleeding edge, yessirree. Tapeless workflow, yeeehaaaa!!! I foresee bricks from videotape manufacturers flying through my office window any day now.

You wanna try? Free trial downloads are here.

Speaking of things flying through windows, I want to share one more nugget from the filming. I’m a huge advocate (and practitioner) of guerilla filmmaking, but this looked more to me like a suicide mission.

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Our friend from the local crew is about to fly down that zipline at an incredible speed, while holding that camera steady. No budget for a helicopter? No problem! No brakes on that thing? No problem! Were we carrying serious insurance coverage? You betcha!

Okay, so continuing on with the “news of significance that I haven’t blogged about until now” tip, the Soundbooth Public Beta went live 2 weeks ago — you can download that for free from Adobe Labs right here. Our thinking behind Soundbooth is that video & Flash pros need to work with audio, but don’t necessarily need a full-featured audio app like Audition (which is indeed full-featured and powerful, but comes with a bit of a learning curve). We wanted to put all the audio tools a video or Flash person would need right at the top level of the interface – tools for doing things like basic editing, music & sound effect creation, level normalization, noise reduction, etc. My next posting will be a detailed one on Soundbooth, but in the meantime you should download the beta, read the “getting started” doc, and get movin’.

And finally, we won an Emmy Award yesterday (like how I put that at the bottom of today’s post to show what a blasé New Yorker I am?). Yep, that’s right, we just won the Emmy Award for Streaming Media Architectures and Components for our Flash Video technology. Now the fight begins over whose desk the statue will live on!