Thursday, June 02, 2011

News From Here & There

Adobe After Effects: Warp Stabilizer, synthesize edges
Steve Forde, Senior Product Manager for Adobe After Effects provides a tutorial on a feature of the Warp Stabilizer called Synthesize Edges.

Synthesize Edges fills in spaces at the edges of the frame created when the Warp Stabilizer manipulates the frames to stabilize the motion. It does this using frames before and after the current frame. BUT, what others discovered is that you can use it for object removal; say you want to remove someone from a scene. This short tutorial shows you how.

NOTE: Steve mentions that this is not quite the same as Content Aware Fill in Photoshop - the technology is different, though he also says it was developed by the same engineers. As he also says, while it's not perfect, a little improvement could make this function even more useful...
Amazon Blogs: Warp Stabilizer - Redux

Adobe Premiere Pro 
Scott Simmons looks at the Speech Analysis tool that was new in CS4, and has been improved in CS5.5. Your results may vary:
The accuracy was far from perfect but appeared to be noticeably better than the couple of times I tried to used transcription in CS4. The accuracy depends a lot on the quality of the interview itself. Noisy backgrounds, fast talkers and speakers who don’t enunciate will all reduce accuracy. My interviews contained a producer asking questions off camera and the interviewer audio was, as expected, pretty much useless. The interview subjects were non-professional talent but they were mic-ed well and the accuracy was good enough that I used it as a starting point for my transcriptions.
ProVideoCoalation: Adobe’s Speech Analysis is still chugging along in Premiere Pro CS5.5

Canon 5D Mark III Rumors
Canonrumors prints a report that Canon might be considering releasing a Canon 5D Mark III for video, and one for stills. Obviously they'd have different names - maybe the 5D Mk III and the 3D? - but the idea of splitting the video functionality into separate product lines is an intriguing one. Perhaps the biggest problem manufacturers have with the DSLR design is that it's "handicapped" by being a stills camera; i.e. some things you might do to reduce moire in video would reduce the resolution of the stills. Also, adding any feature adds costs, so many times the question is; do you add an extra feature for X% of customers that will cost all customers $Y more?

As we speculate wildly, one thing we also don't know is what percentage of 5D Mark II buyers are buying it primarily for the video capabilities. At one point a year or so ago I thought someone quoted a number of about 7%, but I have no idea how accurate that is, and I would not be surprised if the number was actually much higher.

But is it high enough to justify a separate camera? And if you start making a separate camera for video, do you keep the DSLR body, and DSLR limitations, or do you go mad and re-engineer it into something like the NEX-FS100 or RED Scarlet (or if you're Canon, the XF305 with a big chip?)

Or do you start down that road and after a bit of thinking decide you've gone too far, and go back to having a very good still camera that does a pretty good job of doing video?

And is the video division - much like Sony and Panasonic before them - already working on a big-chip version of the XF305?

And if Canon decides to now come out with a 5D Mark III that's a little more video-proficient, but is still not a video camera like the XF305 is a video camera, is it too-little too-late? Canon must be looking at those "DSLR Killers" - the NEX-FS100 and AG-AF100 - and wondering whether the size of the pro market for DSLR video cameras has now shrunk. While I suspect that the market for the lower priced DSLRs remains strong amongst budget filmmakers, I wonder if a lot of the people on bigger budgets who were buying the 5D Mark II haven't already jumped to the AG-AF100 and NEX-FS100?

The last unknown; does Canon have a trick up their sleeve? If they could improve the image quality to the level of the PMW-F3 for $2,500, the camera would still sell well. If it's little improved over the 5D Mark II, then I suspect sales - to video makers - will plunge.

While I sit here speculating about when Final Cut Pro X ships, this gives me something else to think about. The Future of the 1Ds & 5D Lines [CR2]

Spiderman being shot with Red EPIC
The latest Spiderman installment is being shot with the new Red EPIC camera, and Jim Jannard of RED writes about going to see a screening of some footage;
John Schwartzman was there and we talked a bit before going into the screening room."This is the best looking footage I have ever shot... these are the best images I have ever seen!" was his comment. I asked him if this was just his enthusiasm spilling out or if this was actually the case (pretty big statement). He thought for a few moments and said "No, really... this is the best footage I have ever seen from any camera. Ever."

[...] I have to say that we were all stunned. Shocked. So incredible. Not like RED ONE MX. Not like anything we had seen from another camera. Same resolution and feel of our new EPIC reel, but with actors and a story and Schwartzman's ability to light.

The consensus in the room (to a person) was that this looked like film. Like 65mm film. Better. Without any trace of film's blocky detail in shadows or grain. Jaw dropping.
Reduser: IMPORTANT Spiderman update...

Creative Commons on YouTube
Starting today, YouTube will offer the option to license videos with the Creative Commons CC-By-3.0 license. As part of the Creative Commons launch on YouTube, you'll also be able to mark any or all of your videos with the Creative Commons CC BY license that lets others share and remix your work, so long as they give you credit.
BoingBoing: YouTube introduces Creative Commons option for uploaders, remixers

What Do You Invent After The Flip Camera?
A better grilled cheese, evidently. Jonathan Kaplan, the inventor of the Flip video camera, has started a chain of technology-enhanced grilled cheese sandwich stores.
I don't like grilled cheese sandwiches.
Mashable: Why Flip Video’s Inventor Is Starting a High-Tech Grilled Cheese Empire

Canon Filmmakers Gets Closed Down
Someone evidently objected to the name. I wonder who?
CanonFilmmakers: All Good Things Must Come To An End

Citizen Reporting
Finally, last night a band of bad weather sped through Massachusetts, bringing with it tornadoes that did quite a bit of damage and killed at least four people. Nothing on the scale of the damage that happened in Missouri, but this sort of thing doesn't usually happen around here, so it was a little unnerving as we waited it out in the basement. My thoughts go out to those hurt, injured, or who lost loved ones.

Afterwards, we watched some of the coverage on a local news station which played video and displayed photos sent in by viewers. It's amazing how rapidly material gets on the air now, particularly material from those other than reporters. It's something we almost take for granted, yet it was mostly a novelty even four years or so ago.

If you find yourself in the situation where history is taking place around you, I guess it's now natural to take out your cell phone and capture it. Just be careful. And as Michael Flanagan advises:
People! turn your iPhones to landscape orientation while you run for your life from the tornado while screaming and shooting video!

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