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Links

Links covering Final Cut Pro X 3D, Final Cut running on odd devices, Motion 5 animation, 4K, end credits …a Simon Ubsdell special.

3D competition

Last week I posted a link to some FxPlug test movies showing 3D model manipulation in Motion 5. This week it looks like motionVFX have upgraded their planned mExtrude plugin to do much more than extrude 2D text and logos.

This image shows a plugin working in Motion 5, it would take minutes to turn this into a plugin working in Final Cut Pro X:
https://twitter.com/motionVFX/status/374476152636579840/photo/1

Run Final Cut on your camera?

The problem some filmmakers have with DSLR rigs is that they are very unwieldy.

Here’s the tale of building a camera that pays homage to the revolutionary portable 16mm cameras of the 60s and 70s by incorporating a surprising ingredient:
http://blackbettycameras.com/building-betty-2/

Applifying Final Cut Pro X

With a subscription to Parallels Access, you can operate a copy of Final Cut Pro X on a remote Mac  using an iPad. Most reviewers say that it is better than previous remote access applications, but it is expensive – it is being sold as an $80 a year service instead of as a $25 iOS app.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFe3TxNUgYI

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Links covering a new application from Intelligent Assistance, legacy Final Cut Studio tools, a 3D future, Final Cut Pro X 10.1 update price, the Amsterdam Supermeet, a step towards black level understanding and a free plugin maker for Final Cut Pro X who is known for his unconventional plugin names…

Producer’s Best Friend

Intelligent Assistance have launched a new tool: Producer’s Best Friend – which is secretly an editor’s best friend too.

It extracts lots of useful information from Final Cut Pro X projects and events. Timelines are stored in projects, content is stored in events.

Although Producer’s Best Friend can report on the majority of information manipulated by Final Cut Pro, it is limited to the information that can encoded in Final Cut’s XML format.

One of the features I’m looking forward to in 10.1 is an update the the XML format to include much more timeline information. That would support lots of interesting third-party applications: http://assistedediting.intelligentassistance.com/ProducersBestFriend/

Don’t forget Final Cut Studio!

Oliver Peters wrote a post reminding us that as well as pushing Apple to improve Final Cut Pro X, we shouldn’t forget the tools still available to us in Final Cut Studio.

We can still make advanced DVDs in DVD Studio Pro, fix many problems with Soundtrack Pro, do advanced colour grading in Color. We can even use Final Cut Pro 7 to save GB of disk space using its still more advanced media management tools. Every once in a while I like to have a little more control over my audio that X can provide, so I turn to Soundtrack Pro to sort things out – even now that Logic Pro X has arrived.

I’ll deem Final Cut Pro X a full success once we never need to turn to Final Cut Studio again!
http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/the-nle-that-wouldnt-die-ii/

3D

SceneKit is the part of Mac OSX that can be used to create, modify and display manipulate 3D models. Apple provides kits like these to make it easier for developers to add 3D animation to their Mac applications (this article shows some of what it can do – in iOS apps as well).

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Links covering Logic Pro X, animation editing, Final Cut Pro X porn, Thunderbolt 2, XSan, plugin sharing, iMac video cards and the most prolific free plugin maker for Final Cut Pro…

Logic Pro X

Apple isn’t resting when it comes to updating Logic Pro X. The music production app was launched on July 16, even after a big bug fix  a couple of weeks ago, the 10.0.2 update has already appeared. To get the update, run the Mac App Store application.

The list of problems fixed so far:
http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4498?viewlocale=en_US

Editing TV animation

Even amongst editors, the work of animation editors is mysterious. We know that in animation each frame counts, so we understand that editors must determine how shots will work together before they see the actual performances.

Judith Allen, who recently edited a children’s animation series for the BBC and worked on Aardman Animations Pirates! feature, is writing a series of blog posts going into detail on the workflow and responsibilities associated with editing a animated TV series.
http://www.jaa-editing.com/blog/editing-animation.html/

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A few weeks ago I wrote about how Apple’s corporate definition has changed over the years. I took the definition from the paragraph that appears at the end of each press release – the text that explains to the media the nature of the company that issued the information.

Here’s a quiz that demonstrates how well these definitions work for technology companies. I’ve removed the company and brand names, see if you can guess who is who. To see of you’re right, if you’re using a computer move your cursor over the first instance of the ??s in each paragraph – if you wait a few seconds the missing name will appear, on devices without pointing devices, tap the ??s.

1

??????? is a $US30 billion personal technology company – and the second largest PC company in the world, serving customers in more than 160 countries. Dedicated to building exceptionally engineered PCs and mobile internet devices, ???????’s business is built on product innovation, a highly-efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution. Formed by ???????’s acquisition of ???????, the company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services. Its product lines include legendary BRAND1-branded commercial PCs and BRAND2-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile internet devices, including tablets and smart phones. ??????? has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

2

??????? creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technology company, ??????? brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems.

3

??????? listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more.

4

??????? is a global leader in consumer electronics and the core components that go into them. Through relentless innovation and discovery, we are transforming the worlds of televisions, smartphones, personal computers, printers, cameras, home appliances, medical devices, semiconductors and LED solutions. We employ 227,000 people across 75 countries with annual sales exceeding US$143 billion. Our goal is opening new possibilities for people everywhere.

5

??????? designs BRAND1, the best personal computers in the world, along with BRAND2, BRAND3, BRAND4 and professional software. ??????? leads the digital music revolution with its BRAND5s and BRAND6 online store. ??????? has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary BRAND7 and BRAND8, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with BRAND9.

6

??????? is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices.

7

Founded in 1975, ??????? is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

8

??????? is changing the world through digital experiences.

9

???????’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students PERSON1 and PERSON2, ??????? today is a top web property in all major global markets. ???????’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. ??????? is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.

10

Founded in 2004, ???????’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. People use BRAND1 to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

11

Founded in 1997, ??????? is the creator of many award-winning mobile devices and industry firsts. By putting people at the center of everything it does, ??????? pushes the boundaries of design and technology to create innovative and personal experiences for consumers around the globe. ???????’s portfolio includes smartphones and tablets powered by BRAND1, a multilayered graphical user interface that vastly improves user experience.

12

A global leader in wireless innovation, ??????? revolutionized the mobile industry when it was introduced in 1999. Today, ??????? aims to inspire the success of our millions of customers around the world by continuously pushing the boundaries of mobile experiences. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, ??????? operates offices in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

13

A global leader in wireless innovation, ??????? is a global leader in mobile communications whose products have become an integral part of the lives of people around the world. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people use their BRAND1 to capture and share experiences, access information, find their way or simply to speak to one another. ???????’s technological and design innovations have made its brand one of the most recognized in the world.

14

???????, a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. ??????? seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. ??????? and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. BRAND1 provides ???????’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on ???????’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. BRAND2 is the most-advanced e-reader ever constructed with 62% more pixels and 25% increased contrast, a patented built-in front light for reading in all lighting conditions, extra-long battery life, and a thin and light design. The new latest generation BRAND3, the lightest and smallest BRAND3, now features new, improved fonts and faster page turns. BRAND4 features a stunning custom high-definition display, exclusive Dolby audio with dual stereo speakers, high-end, laptop-grade Wi-Fi with dual-band support, dual-antennas and MIMO for faster streaming and downloads, enough storage for HD content, and the latest generation processor and graphics engine—and it is available in two display sizes—7″ and 8.9″. The large-screen BRAND4 is also available with 4G wireless, and comes with a groundbreaking $49.99 introductory 4G LTE data package. The all-new BRAND5 features a 20% faster processor, 40% faster performance, twice the memory, and longer battery life.

Here are the answers in white – select to see who is who:
1 – Lenovo
2 – HP
3 – Dell
4 – Samsung
5 – Apple
6 – Intel
7 – Microsoft
8 – Adobe
9 – Google
10 – Facebook
11 – HTC
12 – Blackberry
13 – Nokia
14 – Amazon

Part of the deal for me to be an official blogger at next week’s BVE2013 in London is for me to have at least two blog posts mentioning the event. This is the second. Given my recent popular post on how Apple defines itself I wondered whether TV and film post production companies are good at defining themselves clearly.

post-logos

Can you get 17 out of 17?

Here are the definitions of some companies in the post production industry attending BVE2013 next week. I’ve removed the company and brand names, see if you can guess who is who. To see of you’re right, if you’re using a computer move your cursor over the ??s – if you wait a few seconds the missing name will appear, on devices without pointing devices, tap the ??s.

1

??????? creates the digital audio and video technology used to make the most listened to, most watched and most loved media in the world – from the most prestigious and award-winning feature films, music recordings, and television shows, to live concert tours and news broadcasts. Some of ???????’s most influential and pioneering solutions include BRAND1, BRAND2, BRAND3, BRAND4, BRAND5, BRAND6 and BRAND7.

2

An Emmy® Award-winning company whose products have defined the world of digital and broadcast graphics, ??????? offers leading graphics solutions including the BRAND1 online content creation software and order management system, on-air graphics systems, clip servers, channel branding, graphics asset management, graphics over IP, and second screen solutions.

3

??????? is the pioneer in networked shared storage and tapeless, end-to-end workflow solutions for the post-production, TV and film industries. Our products include BRAND1 video capture and playout servers, BRAND2 shared storage, BRAND3 backup software, BRAND4 media asset management, and BRAND5 – the world’s first three-platform (Windows/OS X/Linux) professional NLE application.

4

Whether it’s a smartphone or tablet app, a game, a video, a digital magazine, a website, or an online experience, chances are that it was touched by ??????? technology. Our tools and services enable our customers to create groundbreaking digital content, deploy it across media and devices, and then continually measure and optimize it based on user data. By providing complete solutions that combine digital media creation with data-driven marketing, we help businesses improve their communications, strengthen their brands, and ultimately achieve greater business success.

5

??????? creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and film restoration software for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.

6

??????? is a leading manufacturer of high-quality and cost-effective digital video interface, conversion and desktop solutions supporting the professional broadcast and post-production markets.

7

For more than 50 years, ??????? has been synonymous with innovation, leadership, and performance. With an eye to the future, we are committed to advancing our industry by being a strategic and trusted partner. Leveraging IP technology with our proprietary knowledge of media processing and storage, we develop product and service solutions that deliver unmatched interoperability and financial efficiency, and have the flexibility to change and grow as business evolves

8

??????? is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of professional broadcast, 3D, AV and CCTV products. ??????? is committed to providing high-quality professional video equipment to customers all over the world.

9

??????? “The oldest” camera manufacturer, will be showing their NEW Dockable 1.5/3G HD/SD low Cost Camera channel, as well as New POV cameras and a full range of HD/SD Monitors during this BVE 2013. We supply the European, Middle Eastern and African Market with products from three different business fields: Broadcast and Professional Video equipment, Medical Video equipment as well as CCTV solutions.

10

??????? Audio Video equipment offers the industry’s best-performing products which are used across the globe. Capable of operating faultlessly in a myriad of environments; from the dry and dusty Savannah to the freezing temperatures of the Antarctic, ???????’s range of HD studio cameras, convertible camera systems, Industrial Medical Vision cameras and energy-efficient LCD monitors provide an efficient, reliable and truly end-to-end solution for outstanding production quality.

11

Located in Munich, Germany, ??????? was founded in 1917 and is the largest manufacturer of professional motion picture equipment in the world. Throughout its 95-year history, ??????? has been associated with constant innovation and revolutionary technologies in all of its core businesses. The company is involved in all aspects of the film industry: engineering, design, manufacture, production, visual effects, postproduction, equipment rental, laboratory services and studio lighting solutions.

12

??????? have helped to create distinctive images in many famous movies, e.g. Skyfall, Life of Pi and have already received 3 Technical Academy Awards. Innovative products as the BRAND1 lenses and in BRAND2 deliver high image quality in a winning combination for HD video and offer great flexibility.

13

???????is well known as a manufacturer of Super Slo Mo cameras. The BRAND1 range of cameras are used within the broadcast industry, known for image quality, light sensitivity, reliability and ease of use. BRAND1 cameras for years have lead the way in high speed video applications within crash testing, and manufacturing, complimenting ???????’s broad range of Industrial testing and inspection equipment, where this product first came to market. The camera’s sheer performance proved it can hold it’s own within broadcast’s competitive, evolving market. See the new BRAND2 at stand B4.

14

??????? is a world-leading innovator and provider of imaging and information technology solutions for the home and office environments.

15

??????? manufacture and sell a variety of camera support systems and professional grip equipment at an affordable price. As one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of camera support systems the ?????? range is both extensive and diverse and at BVE many different products will be on display and available for demonstration. This includes Jibs, Cranes, Booms, Tracking Dollies, Camera Slider Systems, Stabilizers, Shoulder Mounts, Steadymounts, Remote Control Power Heads, Suction Mounts, plus a variety of Clamps and Mounting Brackets, Monitor Brackets and Video Accessories. There will be many special offers available with special show prices on many items.

16

??????? offers the most affordable and versatile line of camera stabilizers and related accessories available in the world today. Check out the many new and exciting products at this years show. We will show new handheld units including the BRAND1 for your IPhone, body mounted systems and the new BRAND2. We will also show the new BRAND3. The BRAND3 is a remote controlled pan-tilt head for small cameras up to 7 pounds.

17

??????? is recognized as the world’s innovator and premier provider of batteries, chargers, lighting and mobile power systems for the professional broadcast, video and film industries. Based in the United States with offices in Europe, Asia and South America, ??????? was established in 1970 and has expanded its product offerings to include many signature lines including the leading BRAND1 system, BRAND2 chargers and BRAND3 batteries. Our superior quality products have become an industry standard and are compatible with virtually every camera brand.

For free tickets to BVE 2013, click the banner:

0512-BVE13-468x60-banner

Here are the answers in white – select to see who is who:
1 – Avid
2 – Chyron
3 – EditShare
4 – Adobe
5 – Blackmagic Design
6 – AJA
7 – Grass Valley
8 – JVC
9 – Ikegami
10 – Panasonic
11 – ARRI
12 – Carl Zeiss
13 – Olympus
14 – Canon
15 – Hague Camera Supports
16 – Glidecam
17 – Anton/Bauer

0512-BVE13-468x60-banner
In just over three weeks, BVE 2013 starts in London. I’ve been looking forward to it for months.

BVE is a production and post-production trade show with over 300 exhibitors and over 150 seminars. At one event you can visit Adobe, AJA, Anton/BauerArri, AutocueAvid

It is designed for editors, camera operators, producers, directors, broadcast engineers, writers… everyone involved in media production at all levels and stages.

Entry is free if you register in advance.

Read More

I’ll keep this post updated with the latest official information.

Supplementary information

June 21, 2011

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: User manuals
Use the help menu.
Also, a list of the locations of online manuals:
- Final Cut Pro X User Manual
- Motion 5 User User Manual
- Compressor 4 User Manual

Final Cut Pro X: Support resources
Apple’s main support page – including a links to support communities.

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: Run Software Update after installation to install Pro Apps QuickTime codecs
The Pro Apps QuickTime codecs installer is also available.

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: Installation best practices
Whether you install on a new Mac, a separate partition or on the same drive as FCS3.

Final Cut Pro X: Options for importing media from photo-based devices
From a media card using File > Import Files, or by dragging from iPhoto or Aperture to the Event library.

Final Cut Pro X: Options for importing photos from a media card used for both videos and photos

Final Cut Pro X: Importing Sony XDCAM media
‘You’ll need to download and install the Sony XDCAM Transfer software and XDCAM Drive software.’

Final Cut Pro X: Timecode of selected media in the Inspector may not display as expected
‘Timecode of selected media is displayed in the frame rate of the media and not the frame rate of a project.’

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: Graphics card compatibility
A list of which Macs shipped with which graphics cards.

June 22, 2011

Final Cut Pro X: Movie files from iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture do not appear in the media browser
A feature, not a bug. Drag movies from iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture windows to the Event Library.

Final Cut Pro X: Use “Import from Camera” when importing media from an SD card that was copied to the local drive

June 23, 2011

How to purchase Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4
Go to Mac App Store

June 24, 2011

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: Using OpenCL-enabled graphics cards

June 27, 2011

Final Cut Pro X – Technical Specifications

Motion 5 – Technical Specifications

Compressor 4 – Technical Specifications

Final Cut Pro X Supported Cameras

June 29, 2011

Final Cut Pro X: Hiding Events in the Event Library
Move their folders from the Movies/Final Cut Events folder. This applies to Projects too.

Troubleshooting

June 21, 2011

Final Cut Pro X: High data rate media may cause unexpected behavior
‘Ensure the storage device has adequate throughput to accommodate the data rate of the media.’

Final Cut Pro X: Sorting content in the iLife Media Browser may cause unexpected behavior
‘Allow the process to complete; the symptom should not occur again.’

Motion 5, Motion 4: Motion projects cannot be previewed in finder or QuickTime Player
If Motion 5 was installed on a Mac with Motion 4.

Motion 5: Alpha type analysis of media with an alpha channel may not be determined correctly
‘In the Media pane of the Inspector, choose the appropriate option’

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: “Please see if your boot volume has sufficient space” alert when sharing to an LG Blu-ray drive
Update the firmware for the LG Blu-ray drive.

Final Cut Pro X: “Please Locate” dialog box appears when selecting Spaces presets
Spaces is an audio filter. ‘Download the additional Final Cut Pro X content.’

Compressor 4.0: Batch files created with Compressor 3.5.3 open with Compressor 4.0
Open them from within Compressor 3.5.3 using File > Open

Compressor 4: Issues applying a setting to effects-intensive Final Cut Pro X projects sent to Compressor
‘Open Compressor and close the Preview window. Do this before sending an effects-intensive Final Cut Pro X project to Compressor for transcoding to prevent unexpected behavior.’

Motion 5: Imported Photoshop files in CMYK color may not behave as expected
Re-save your .psds as RGB before importing.

Compressor 3.5.3 & 4.0, Apple Qmaster: Network interface changes are not detected until Compressor is restarted

Final Cut Pro X: Unusable fonts may cause unexpected behavior with Inspector
Use the Font Book application to determine unusable fonts. Remove them and restart Final Cut Pro X.

Final Cut Pro X: Distortion when creating Motion templates with non-square pixel aspect ratios
When creating Motion templates, use the Snapshots to create versions for different aspect ratios.

Final Cut Pro X: Keyboard commands may conflict with Spaces keyboard commands
If you want to keep using Mac OS X Spaces, change the keyboard shortcuts using System Preferences > Exposé & Spaces > Spaces

Final Cut Pro X: Systems with two graphics cards may export QuickTime movies with green artifacts
Current workaround: ‘Only use Final Cut Pro X with single graphics card on your system.’

Final Cut Pro X: “Final Cut Pro generated an error or unexpectedly quit” alert when leaving Share Monitor open
If you have the Share Monitor open, close it before restarting Final Cut Pro X.

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: About the “Failed: Quicktime could not access a file. Offset too big” alert
‘This alert message indicates that the drive you are exporting to is getting full.’

Final Cut Pro X: Connect your camera or device directly to the built-in FireWire port on your computer
Don’t use hubs.

Final Cut Pro X: Importing a range selection of iPod or MP4 video media plays clip as a still frame
Import the full media file.

June 22, 2011

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: “Send To” menu command from Final Cut Studio (2009) opens incorrect version of target app

June 24, 2011

Final Cut Pro X: Mac OS X 10.6.7: Media Browser option unavailable in Share menu
Update to Mac OS X 10.6.8

June 27, 2011

Compressor 3.5.3 & 4.0: QuickClusters on the same system may not work as expected
Disable the Compressor 3.5.3 QuickCluster.

June 29, 2011

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4: May be unable to open Final Cut Pro 7
Open and quit Motion 4.

Those of you starting to use Snow Leopard will notice the new QuickTime player.

qtX

Apple markets this as part of QuickTime X. However, it turns out that the new player is a small part of this new version of QuickTime.

As detailed as part of a 23 page technical review of Snow Leopard over at Ars Technica, as with the rest of the OS, most of the changes to QuickTime are hidden from end-users. The first release of QuickTime X is for developers to create new media manipulation applications.

The way Apple does this is through ‘abstraction’ – hiding which software is carrying out requests for applications. For the last few years developers have been asked to use a part of the OS known as QtKit instead of QuickTime 7. In earlier versions of OS X QtKit called QuickTime 7 to perform operations. In OS 10.6 Snow Leopard some operations are carried out by QuickTime X while most are still performed by QuickTime 7. As future versions of OS X are released, more of the application requests will be carried out by QuickTime X.

qt7X

A wider advantage of Snow Leopard is that more of the OS is 64-bit compatible. The advantages won’t be immediately apparent for most users. This release (and the fact that it doesn’t cost very much to upgrade) is to encourage developers to create 64-bit applications and drivers. The eventual benefits will be access to virtually unlimited amounts of memory and much better processor performance.

For more on the 18 year history of QuickTime, the advantages provided by QuickTime X and how the 32-bit Final Cut Studio suite fits into the picture, read the QuickTime page of the Snow Leopard review over at Ars Technica.

null

For more on the QuickTime X player, QuickTime 7 player in Snow Leopard and the question of Pro feature unlocking, there’s another page of the Ars Technica review on these subjects.

alpha_t_in_6

Alpha Transition is being marketed as one of the major new features of Final Cut Pro 7. It allows you to use a third clip as a transition between two existing clips. It uses the transparent parts of the transition clip, so that makes it an alpha transition.

This Alpha Transition effect is implemented in FxScript, Final Cut’s plugin scripting language. Which, as the language hasn’t changed, means that the effect also works in earlier versions. Probably back to version 5.1.

So if you know your version 7 project might need to be finished on a 6.X system, you can export as XML as usual, and use the Alpha Transition plugin by installing it on the older system.

Note that Apple’s license agreement may not allow you to do this (even though the transition is implemented using mere 5.62K of FxScript), but if you use 6 and 7 on your computers and 7 was upgraded from your copy of 6, you are probably bending (if not breaking) the rules already.

It should also work in Final Cut Express, but as I don’t have a copy, I can’t confirm that.

To learn more about the effect, check out the tutorial on the Ripple Training site:
ripple_tut

Apple also supply free alpha transition movies on the Final Cut Studio resources page: [760MB Zip file]

In which I provide some feedback to the UK government on their Digital Britain report: a place to build and democratise access to the internet.

From ‘two birds with one stone’ part of my brain, I’ve come up with an idea for the government that will head off complaints that Post Offices are being closed all over the country and get rural areas connected to the rest of the world.

Lord Carter, the UK Government minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting recently presented the interim version of his “Digital Britain” report. He talked about it this morning. Here’s the blurb on what he has to say:

In his first major speech since the publication of the interim “Digital Britain” report, Lord Carter outlines how he believes industry and government can work together to put the UK at the forefront of the global digital economy. Lord Carter discusses the implications and recommendations of the report, and focus in particular on how to deliver the infrastructure for next generation networks and universal access to broadband.

You should have a listen, it’s great to hear how informal, yet informed a member of government minster can be.

The headline summaries of the report usually mentioned his suggestion that it would be a good idea of everyone in the UK to access to at least 2Mbps broadband connections in the next few years. Most people think that this is woefully unambitious.

My idea is to create an intermediate sort of nation-wide access until the infrastructure can reach every home: a Digital Village Hall for every community in the country. Imagine a small building with a large room and a few meeting rooms where local people will be able to share a 2Gbps connection to the rest of the world. This would be where the community would meet, be educated, where retired people could care for toddlers, where people would get access to government (post office-type) services.

It is a great deal easier keeping a single link to well set-up computers in a single location than dealing with sorting out access for hundreds of households.

The large room could be used to link communities together via conferencing technology during the day, or as a place for youth groups to meet in the evening. Smaller rooms could be used by people needing private access to the net, or for digitally connected meetings. Corporations who value employees with a good work-life balance would benefit from an intermittently connected workforce.

Imagine what a single very fast connection, three or four well-trained members of staff and the correct good value equipment in a few rooms would be able to do to keep children, freelancers, home workers, retired people connected and involved with the rest of the country and the world! I think that older people would be much more confident on dealing with the government through the web if they were led through it by a considerate human being.

Remember that Village Hall is a kind of branding, there’s no reason why these Halls couldn’t be set up throughout urban Britain too. It will also make sure that people still leave their homes and get out to meet other members of their ‘village’, wherever it is in the UK.

The Digital Village Hall is the place to introduce us all to the future of the internet and Digital Government.

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