Following on from my post about the London SuperMeet, the organisers have kindly offered me a discount code which you can use to save £5 on advance tickets. Enter ‘alex4d’ as your discount code or follow this link.



There are few events where post production professionals can escape their dark rooms full of technology. The calendar is pretty sparse: Winter: BVE in London, Spring: NAB in Las Vegas, Autumn: IBC in Amsterdam.

So it’s great news that this Summer sees the third London SuperMeet.


SuperMeets are exciting events for editors and other filmmakers who want to be inspired by, learn from and connect with other creative professionals.

Doors open at 4.30pm for the Digital Showcase, an exhibition featuring the newest TV and film making products and services.

The main show starts at 7pm and features a conversation and Q&A with Tom Rolf, A.C.E. editor of Taxi Driver, French Connection II, The Right Stuff, Jacob’s Ladder, WarGames, Sneakers and Heat.

The full agenda hasn’t been announced yet, but previous years have included the London premiere of Final Cut Pro X, 3D and Autodesk Smoke for Mac OS X, integrating Final Cut Pro with Adobe creative suite applications and speakers such as Philip Bloom, Martin Baker, Larry Jordan and Walter Murch.

Each SuperMeet ticket includes two raffle tickets

As well as the exhibition, networking and presentations, SuperMeets are known for their product raffles. Throughout the evening raffle tickets are chosen and winners are called to the stage to receive one of many prizes.

The value of the prizes at the last London SuperMeet amounted to over £25,000.

SuperMeet tickets cost £10 + 90p booking fee – until May 29.

Tickets bought at the door on the night cost £20.

Student tickets cost  £10 + 90p booking fee.

I hope to meet you there!

I know you could meet editors, post-production people, TV-show and movie makers from the UK and Europe. You’d see presentations on Final Cut Pro, Smoke for Mac OS X and Davinci Resolve 8.

There’s a chance Final Cut Pro X will have been launched by then, and this will be the first major event for us all to get together to talk about the implications.

But I’d rather you didn’t go. Michael Horton very kindly sent me a free ticket. I’m sorted. It’s not fair that you have to pay £20 for five hours plus of Final Cut and Mac post-production community building, education and inspiration.

The fact that if you don’t go, I’ve got a much better chance of winning a share of the £25,000+ raffle is nothing to do with it…

As I’m doing a huge favour to the organisers of Tuesday’s MacVideo Expo in London, they’re doing me a favour in return. If you email me with your name and company name, you can save the full £10 entry fee. There are three tickets left as of Monday morning.

MacVideo Expo 2010 logo

MacVideo Expo takes place at The Royal Society of Medicine, London W1 on Tuesday October 19. It is organised in the same way as a Final Cut Pro Supermeet: an exhibitor showcase, presentations and a giveaway of £10,000-worth of products to audience members. The £10 entry fee also includes a free buffet.

You don’t have to have a Mac to benefit from the event. The exhibition and show includes Panasonic’s AVCCAM range, Avid’s Media Composer 5, a 45-minute lighting demonstration from Dedo Weigert, Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci colour correction products and Autodesk’s Smoke. You’ll also be able to make connections with UK editors, camerapeople and post-production experts.

The favour I’m doing the organisers? I’m appearing on stage in a panel – The great DSLR vs Video Camera debate.

If you have an idea for a plugin for Final Cut, find me during a break. I’d love to hear about it. I’ll tell you about my next free plugin too.

An entry on Annie Mole’s Going Underground blog informed me that the London Transport Museum are now selling products where you can personalise them to show any part of the tube map you like:
Men’s T-Shirt

Women’s T-Shirt


Mouse Mat


Go to the ‘RailOrder’ section of the museum site to order yours.

Map geekery: the version of the map they use is different from others: no disability blobs and no East London Line section of the Overground:

This week Transport for London have released a big revision to the tube map. They are trying to make it clearer. It is a great deal simpler than the previous version, but they may have gone too far. The River Thames has gone:


I think that the Thames is one of the cues that gives some grounding to people who have a look at the map for the first time. In fact the river would fit perfectly well onto the current map as it is (apart from moving one station) if you incorporate a new rule: station labels are allowed to overlap the river.

Here’s a close up of what it would look like:

…and the whole map:

Instead of simplifying the map too far, here’s a reminder of my design that has all the same information as the previous map and more while being clearer:

My redesigned tube map.

For a long page on my thoughts on London transport design, visit this page.

For more radical tube map designs and commentary on the current official design, follow the work of author and designer Maxwell Roberts:

See also:
100 posters celebrating the 100th birthday of the tube logo
Better art on the New York subway

Following on from Larry Jordan‘s intense, cool and informative Final Cut PowerUp tutorial event in London, the question came up: which version of Final Cut works best with which versions of QuickTime and OS X?

Larry gave the most important advice: If your system is working fine do not upgrade until you need a specific new feature.

Here’s a link to a blog post with a table showing which version works best with which version… It might be a year old, but it should help the majority of people out there.

I’ve had no problems with FCP 6.0.4, QuickTime 7.5.5 on OS X 10.5.4

Comment with your combinations that work well!

In which I transcribe some notes on how the BBC uses Apple’s Final Cut Studio suite to make TV programmes.

I thought it would only take a day, but tomorrow I’m going back for more!

Trade shows bring out the worst in me. In recent years I’ve learned to do without them. However this time I have a couple of new reasons to go to an exhibition featuring Avid, Sony, Canon, Panasonic et al. demoing software and kit for post-production.

I spent the day at the Broadcast Video Expo here in London. I haven’t been in three years, so was expecting economic considerations to reduce the number of stands and attendees. I was wrong on both counts. The show isn’t huge, but it was big enough to be worth attending, and small enough to look very busy for the number of people there.

Here’s a picture I posted using my iPhone/Twitter/Twitpic/TwitterFon (!):
A busy Broadcast Video Expo 2009

Today was a day of seminars, starting with the BBC on how they use Final Cut Studio for HD workflow. They concentrated on Final Cut Pro’s links with Color. Here are my live tweets from today, with extra notes.

100:1 shooting ratio: Offline at dv res. 100 hrs=1.2Tb
– For documentaries, the shooting ratio ranges from 100:1 to 200:1. That is too much for anything other than DV resolution. 100hrs of DV rushes is only 1.2TB

HDcam not great. Avid worth it if time pressure is high.
– Problems with HDCam tapes. Using Adrenaline/Nitris etc. workflow is fine, but not worth the extra cost unless you have a very tight transmission deadline.

Mouse based colour tools not great. Like control surfaces.
– The Avid colour correction tools they used had to use mouse/keyboard and bright screens. Darker displays and control surfaces are much better

Apple Color is good option. Stable version of Final Touch
– BBC used Final Touch before Apple bought it. Worth the high price, but not reliable. They thought Apple were right not to change anything but improve the reliability. Now any problems are due to operator error, so allow for a couple of extra rendering hours in case something goes wrong overnight.

Use Apple ProRes as equivalent of Avid dnxhd. 6:1 ratio.

Docs need too much storage for uncompressed – can’t delete footage – producers always coming back with changes
– As HD takes so much storage, rushes need to be removed to backup. That is bad news for docs. Producers and directors are always coming back with a couple of little changes every few days. That doesn’t work well with high-end systems.

Apple Color doesn’t roundtrip well. Export full res qt from fcp, grade in color and bring back into fcp.
– Export ProRes QuickTime from Final Cut timeline. Import that QuickTime onto a new video layer in your project. Use the blade tool to slice your movie at each edit point in your timeline. Delete your original clips. Send to Color. Correct in Color. One problem is that you can’t correct Picture-in-picture sequences this way. You need to 3-Way Color Correct these in Final Cut relative to the background picture before you export to QuickTime. Once the grade is ‘over’ export at ProRes QT and return to Final Cut for captioning.

Grade in Color in 20 minute sections
– This is the most stable way to use Color, a figure determined by trial and error and talking to Apple.

Apple Color one flaw for pros: can’t get sound cues. Color is mute

BBC uses Natress Bleach Bypass filter in Apple Color
– There is a built-in Bleach Bypass filter, but Natress’s one is better. They also use Natress’s film effects plugins.

Apple Color can match any high-end system at a fraction of the price – if you have the time.
– The problem is that clients/production people need to understand that Color will seem to be dropping frames. However tricked out the Mac is, it seems to play 90% of the frames per second. You need time because rendering usually takes 6 times real time.

Apple Compressor for standards conversion very slow, but good enough

More soon…

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