Sims, Micros and the DJI-Phantom With GoPro Camera Mount

photoThe Challenge. Learning to fly is, in all respects, the most important initial task for the aspiring aerial videographer. Some novices develop flying skills rather quickly, while others struggle. Basically, multi copters are controlled by a wireless transmitter equipped with two toggle/joysticks to move it forward and back (elevator), left and right (aileron), up and down (throttle), and give it speed. A “rudder” control rotates the device. Things remain fairly simple until the multi copter rotates left or right from its original starting orientation. That’s when it gets confusing.

In this second in a series of articles, we identify two software programs that offer a new flyer a way to simulate actual flight characteristics using a computer. In addition, we suggest two inexpensive, but durable, micro rotors that provide real world flight experience, but on less expensive scale than a full multi copter.

stupidNoise Industries, developer of visual effects tools for the post-production and broadcast markets, has introduced Block Pop, a new plug in for Final Cut Pro X. Block Pop is a set of twenty-three fully customizable transitions that break video into blocks that transform into the next scene. Give projects a more modern and exciting look with 3D block transitions. Editors can plug and play from a variety of styles, or customize transitions for a completely unique look. Both custom and preset transitions are provided. The library of presets come with direction, motion and timing already animated. With a total of 23 different block layouts already animated, Block Pop comes with 745 presets to choose from. For custom transitions, filmmakers can modify the direction, motion and timing of both blocks and “cutting” lines, which can also be turned off.  Stupid Raisins Block Pop is available now for $49 USD.

PIPIconNoise Industries has released Tokyo PiPinator, an advanced but simple-to-use Picture-in-Picture effect that brings the power of menu-driven animation and a wealth of useful features to creating elegant and original composites – without the need for keyframing.  PiPinator is designed exclusively for Final Cut Pro X and is available at the Noise Industries’ web site for $49.00.

Tokyo PiPinator provides maximum control over every aspect of the effect. Changes can be quickly made and fine tuned, including motion path, scaling, rotation, cropping, image offset, border, drop shadow, reflection and more.

Final CutApple has released an update to its flagship video editing program, FCP X, bringing the release up to 10.0.7.  Minor updates to Compressor and Motion are also available.  The free updates can be downloaded using Software Update or at the online App Store, and primarily improve overall stability, performance, and compatibility.

Final Cut Pro X version 10.0.7

The Updates include:

  • The Letterbox effect “Offset” slider is restored.
  • Fixes an issue that could occur when creating a single layer DVD.
  • Fixes an issue in which some third-party effects could cause Final Cut Pro to stop responding during background rendering.
  • Fixes an issue in which some third-party transitions would incorrectly use black instead of source media.
  • Adds support for editing MXF files that are still ingesting.
  • Fixes an issue with rendering Motion Templates containing Image Units.
  • Fixes an issue with the display of the Modify RED RAW settings button in synchronized and compound clips.
  • Fixes an issue with the upload of clips that are larger than 1 GB to Vimeo.
  • Fixes an issue in which an incorrect frame size is used with filters on two adjacent clips with different pixel aspect ratio.

CS5 PhotoshopThe release of Adobe’s Production Premium CS5 bundle brings a refined interface, dozens of under-the-hood improvements and several “wow” features to the integrated application suite. This series of reviews will evaluate what is new, improved, and useful in CS5 Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, and onLocation CS5 Mac with video professionals in mind. Also in the queue is a look at the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine and how its uses NVIDIA GPU cards to provide a GPU-accelerated real time editing and effects in multi format projects. Our first look is at Photoshop CS5 Extended.

Preamble.  Why discuss CS5 Photoshop as a video editing tool? The answer is two fold. Photoshop is an indispensable content creation tool for the video professional.   Its unique capabilities enable editors to prepare graphics for video, create titles, logos and backgrounds, enhance images, utilize mattes and masks, and it provides basic video editing capabilities as well. If you edit video for a living, Photoshop is an essential tool.

Introduction. One unique engineering feature of Apple’s Mac Pro desktops are four easily accessible internal removable drive sleds. One drive sled holds the boot drive, and remaining three drive sleds can be populated with single 3.5-inch SATA drives. Or you can go a different way. Stardom’s Pro Drive 2520 provides an ingenuous two-drive 2.5-inch RAID 0 enclosure that easily installs in each of the three remaining drive bays, or can be used as a boot drive. The solution is unique in three ways: the PD 2520 automatically creates a striped RAID using an embedded hardware RAID controller when the drives are installed; it uses the existing SATA data and power connection in the Mac Pro drive bay; and it includes USB 2/FW 800 connectors to allow the drive to be used externally. Not bad for $149.00.

The performance of any engine is dependent on the sum of its parts. Nothing proves the point more clearly than the engine that powers Adobe’s Premiere CS5 Macintosh. A rebuilt, but familiar Premiere CS5 coalesces three key technologies into the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine to facilitate a powerful editing environment for today’s demanding video codecs. As a 64-bit application, Premiere can access as much RAM as you throw at it. It leverages this 64-bit support and a multi-core, multi-threaded Macintosh to provide native real time editing in a multi-codec timeline. And it utilizes a qualified NVIDIA video card to accelerate encodes, real time previews, and many commonly used filters and plug ins.

caldigit2No shipping Macintosh computer supports USB3, a curious omission for a company that historically has embraced new technology. The omission is more acute given the USB3 specifications: up to 4.8Gbps data transfers, compatibility with USB1 and USB2 peripherals, and low cost. Although FW800 is supported in nearly all Mac laptop and desktop systems, eSATA is a 3rd party option, and only the pricey 17-inch MacBook Pro, and some older 15-inch MBPs carry an ExpressCard 34 slot.

Enter CalDigit’s AV drive, a Mac compatible SuperSpeed USB3 external hard drive bundled with either an ExpressCard 34 or PCIe card and a custom Mac driver. My evaluation package easily installed in an available PCIe slot in a 2009

Final Cut Pro aficionado Jerry Hofmann’s 90 minute DVD provides a decade of experience about basic to advanced system, OS, hardware, and Final Cut Studio set up, and much more. Jerry starts with FCS and OS X installation strategies, discusses various hardware and software options, system, user, and AV settings, and finishes with how to set up an editing suite including which color to paint the walls (and why). Just about everything else Final Cut Pro hardware and software related is included. This is a must view for novice and expert, and a bargain at for $49.95.

If you are trying to connect a FireWire 800 HDD and a FireWire 400 camcorder to one FireWire 800 port, this may be the solution. Sonnet Technologies has introduced the Yin•Yang FireWire 800 to FireWire 400/800 Mini Hub. It enables users to connect a FireWire 800 device plus a FireWire 400 device to a computer simultaneously through a single FireWire 800 port. FireWire 800 is included on the latest iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro computers, but all these share a single FireWire bus, and only the MacPro has more than one port. Most only have only a single FireWire 800 (IEEE-1394b) port and no FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394a) port. This limitation poses a challenge when the need arises to connect a FireWire 400 device or more than one FireWire device. Two FireWire peripherals, such as external drives, DV camcorders, and other devices can be concurrently connected and used. No adapter or cable swapping is required.